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posted: 4/26/2013 5:40 PM

Road commissioner's budget still not approved

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  • Steve Schuldt

      Steve Schuldt

  • Margaret Sanders

      Margaret Sanders

 
 

Unresolved issues in Rutland Township Road Commissioner Howard Schultz's budget have led to borrowing from reserve funds until the matters are resolved.

The township board Thursday night conditionally approved the figures in his budget, but also voted to hold a second budget hearing in May and to delay final approval until June, Township Assessor Janet Siers said.

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The fiscal year ended March 31.

The June vote would involve new trustees Charleen Carlsen and Fred Bulmahn, the township's former supervisor. They will replace outgoing Trustees Katherine Schultz and Beulah Swanson.

Howard Schultz says the delay in the budgeting process will force him to use some of the $400,000 in reserves to pay bills.

Whether that money will be enough depends on if the board approves his budget in June. He said the budget proceedings are deliberately being drawn out, but wouldn't speculate why.

"People change and people get funny," he said. "Who knows what they're thinking."

Siers insists there's a power struggle going on and the matter is being delayed to give the new trustees a chance to weigh in on the road commissioner's budget.

"I've been to meetings for over 40 years and the last couple of meetings are the worst I've ever seen," Siers said. "It's a couple people that are looking for control and power. That's the bottom line."

According to meeting minutes from the road district's March 12 budget hearing, Trustee Steve Schuldt suggested the board postpone voting until April because "he wanted time to digest the numbers."

"He received the proposed budget Feb. 8 and the budget was given to all of the trustees at that time," Township Supervisor Margaret Sanders said.

Schuldt could not be reached for comment Friday.

At the next meeting April 16, the board approved the road commissioner's budget, according to Siers. After the vote, Schuldt -- who in March suggested the board wait to vote until April -- questioned whether it was legal for the board to have delayed the vote from March to April and wanted a legal opinion, Siers said.

At Thursday's meeting township attorney Ron Roeser told the board in a letter that it did nothing wrong when it moved the vote to April and that another hearing was not necessary, Sanders said.

But the board decided to hold another budget hearing for the road district anyway, and it's scheduled June 11.

"I got re-elected and I would just like to see us work together because we're not going to do any good for anybody if we continue to make issues over something that has to be done," Sanders said. "The road district budget has to be approved. We have to have money to keep the roads in good condition."

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