Charitable donations are a great thing. Kindness and compassion are two traits that we citizens of Reno take pride in. Many of the companies that I have worked for in the Reno/Sparks area have all had a corporate culture where we employees gave back to the community through fundraisers, donations, etc. And its good that our City gives back as well.
However, on March 8, 2017, I noticed I major irregularity under section L at the city council meeting. (READ THE FULL HIGHLIGHTS HERE).
In a single day, the city council approved $27,350 in General Funds to donations of their choosing, including $11,250 for donations sponsored by Mayor Hillary Schieve.
I found this whole situation a bit suspicious considering that I have not seen anything of this magnitude from the council previously. Was there an alternative motive to this massive spike in donations?
I know I will be closely watching how much is given out going forward. Next time, instead of just blanketing every organization in financial aide, we should donate by getting the community involved, or at best, adding a layer of accountability to these donations as well.
I do not think that the city council should be authorized to pull any sum from the General Funds to donate. The other council members will always most likely vote in favor of the gift because they too want the same vote reciprocated when they have an organization they want to give to. In my opinion, this is a slippery slope, and opens the door for council members being able to buy votes with city funds. Donations should be handled via smarter budgeting, and should be listed as a separate line item in the budget away from the general funds. Any company I have ever worked for has always done this, so why isn't the city council?
Below are the other recent regular Reno city council meeting dates, and the amounts given out under item L during those meetings.
May 10, 2017 = $18,500
April 26, 2017 = $7,750
April 12, 2017 = $4,000
March 22, 2017 = $8,000
March 8, 2017 = $27,350
Feb. 22, 2017 = $4,500
Feb. 8, 2017 = $0
Jan. 11, 2017 = $2,700
Dec. 14, 2017 = $4,000
Dec. 7, 2017 = $3,000
And then let's just go back a year and see if the first meeting is March is historically a big donation date:
March 9, 2016 = $2,000 (it's not)
And, on a final note, I am totally willing to concede my opinion of the mayor on this matter if the mayor and council can justify to me and the other Reno residents that this massive donation day was totally in the interest of kindness, and that there were no alternative motives, and if they can show me that we had available funds.
What do you think?
All content provided on this blog is for opinion and informational purposes only.