Q: On what sorts of expenses does the charter allow council to spend the 25% reserves?
A: By order of a previous city council, the city must keep 25% of the prior year’s budget in reserves for an authorized emergency, City Manager Jim O’Reilly says. For example, if the city budget is one million dollars this year, next year the city must keep $250,000 in reserves next year.
So what constitutes an emergency? Gulfport’s code of ordinances, Section 311 (passed in 2003), says that council may “make emergency appropriations to meet a pressing need for public expenditure, for other than a regular or recurring requirement, to protect the public health, safety and welfare.”
Furthermore, the council may only spend the money “upon recommendation of the city manager” and if a supermajority (four out of five) councilmembers vote in favor of the expense.
Right now, Gulfport has 41.4%, or $4,351,264, of last year’s budget in reserves. 25% of the current budget year translates to $2,526,340.
Have a question about how your city works or why it does what it does? Send it to News@theGabber.com.