Former York City Administrator Believes Budget Problem Claims Are “Inaccurate”

COLUMBUS – Former York City Administrator, and current Columbus City Administrator Tara Vasicek believes that the claims of budget problems facing the City of York are “inaccurate.”

The York News-Times reported that Mayor Orval Stahr and City Administrator Joe Frei announced during a special council meeting on August 1 that all of the city’s unrestricted budget reserves had been spent. In order to gain more information on the situation, Vasicek, who previously served as York’s City Administrator from July 2013 to January 2017, filed a formal Public Records Request on August 4 to review the 2017-18 City of York financial records.

“The information that I have received up until now is limited, but…when I left York, the audits were reported as all great, we met all benchmarks, and we were on target with everything,” Vasicek said following the Columbus City Council meeting on August 6. “Based on the cash numbers that I saw today, it’s much the same as when I left. The message of dire financial situations is not factual based on the information I’ve received.”

The information Vasicek requested for review included the following records:

  • Current General Fund cash held in all checking accounts.
  • Current General Fund cash held in investments (certificates of deposit, money markets, etc.)
  • Records of all reserve withdrawals between January 2017 and present.
  • Monthly financials, reported by fund, including revenues and expenses from January 2017 through June 2018.

Vasicek expects to receive more information in the coming days, and believes that York Mayor Orval Stahr is looking for a way to fund economic development through the claims of a financial crisis.

“Since Orval Stahr has been running for mayor, he’s been on a platform of wanting to gather a lot of revenue for economic development, and the community generally hasn’t been supportive of that,” Vasicek said. “They didn’t support the idea of reallocating sales tax, that didn’t even get to the ballot, they weren’t supportive of his idea to take money out of the utility funds to do this. Now, as they go through the budget process, he’s trying what he can to find money in the normal budget to fund economic development.”

Vasicek believes that the rest of the information she has requested from the City of York is going to confirm that York is not broke, and is not going bankrupt.

This is a developing story, so stay with News Channel Nebraska for the latest updates.

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