Bryant city council passes resolution to pass "bare-bones" budget

BRYANT (KATV) - A hesitant Bryant city council is still worried about their 2013 financial numbers to bother getting started on a full 2014 budget.{} With a short staffed finance department, along with the departure of the finance director, the city council believes they will end up having to pass a blind budget.

The Bryant city council is legally obligated to pass an operating budget for 2014 by February 1.{} But under the pressure of trying to balance a budget there's a problem.

"You will not have an opportunity to see year-end financials before January is over," said Mayor Jill Dabbs.

Council members are uncomfortable, still waiting on actual revenue and expenditures for the city for the months of October, November and December 2013.{} Their unease isn't helped by financial discrepancies.

"We show $1.15 million dollars missing out of our general fund," said Councilman Adrian Henley, Ward 3.{}

Dabbs later chalked that up to an accounting error made in 2012, where money that was supposed to be taken out of the general fund was taken out of the designated funds for police expenditures.{} That was also the supposed reason that a $1 million certificate of deposit was cashed in by the city without notifying city council members.

"The fiscal year ends with the calendar year, so the cash corrections had to be made prior to the year's end," said Dabbs.{} "Mr. Edwards advised me of this after he had consulted with the legislative audit and bond council."

The city's former finance director, Dennis Edwards, was legally able to do that.{} Council members expressed their frustration with that, mentioning legal or not, they want to be notified when something like that happens.{}

Council members ended up passing a resolution asking for last year's numbers before going forward with a full 2014 budget.{} In the meantime that resolution will have them pass a "bare bones" budget and they plan on working on what exactly "bare bones" will be in the coming weeks.