To the editor:
The Cape Coral 2012 Budget Amendment (Ordinance 5-12) is an illusion created to mislead the public into thinking the current year's spending is being reduced by $3.3 million. Not so. It is the Budget which is being reduced by that amount.
Yes, and that is because the so-called budget includes "Transfers In" which is an arbitrary number which falsely inflates the budget. The original approved budget included $37.4 million of "Transfers In." This budget amendment is reducing that amount down to $22.8 million. It is that reduction which allows the city to say it is reducing the budget while it hides from the public the fact that actual spending in the General Fund which pays for all of the city's basic services including Police, Fire, Parks, Public Works etc., is increasing from $103.2 million to $107.1 million and "Internal Services" spending is being increased from $17.3 million to $23.0 million.
Could that be Pension contributions which are increasing? In fact, "Total Expenditures" for all Funds included in the amended budget went from $280.4 million to $290.0 million. In other words, this amendment is actually increasing spending by almost $10 million. You won't find that in the title statement written on the budget amendment Ordinance.
That is why I say this budget amendment is a sham designed to mislead the public. I also believe this is one of the major reasons why the FAC was done away with. There were a number of us on the FAC who said Intra and Inter Fund Transfers did not belong in the budget because such transfers did not increase total spendable revenues. Such transfers just move money around and makes it appear like we have more money available to spend when in fact we do not.
It also allows the city to hide increases in spending while saying the budget is being reduced.
Former FAC Member