Budget?? Meh!

Budget: an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time. To my way of thinking, a budget is established and maintained by first determining how much money you know you will have, allocating that known quantity of money to various categories, and then tracking to ensure that your expenditures stay within those limits.

In my view – and admittedly – I am somewhat fiscally conservative – you do not go outside the budget once you have established the categories and the amounts allocated to each. You always allocate an “emergency” fund category for when things don’t go as planned – but that is part of your budget.

The very definition of fiduciary irresponsibility – is setting a budget based on:

1. How much you spent last year; or

2. How much you think (hope, pray, imagine, etc.) you will get this year.

The June 2019 NYWD board packet was sent to me via email on June 24, 2019 in anticipation of the June 27, 2019 NYWD Board Meeting. The agenda contained an item to approve the budget for the fiscal year 2019-2020. Apparently the expectation was that the board had three and a half days to review the document and were to then vote on approving it.

This was sent seven days before the end of the fiscal year. Why was this being introduced so late in the fiscal year which starts July 1 and ends June 30?

Where was the opportunity for revising this proposed budget?

The budget had never been discussed previously. The budget sent to me June 24, 2019 was not made available to the public via the website as I have repeatedly requested. The budget needed to be printed out on 11 X 17 size paper in order to even make it legible.

I reviewed the budget and came to the June 27, 2019 meeting prepared with questions. I also printed a number of copies for the public who would most likely be seeing this budget for the first time.

NYWD funds belong to the People and as a Director, one of my primary responsibilities is fiduciary responsibility.

NYWD Culpable Four Male Directors’ Approach to NYWD Finances

The video above is 18 minutes long – that is exactly the length of time the Board took to “review”, “evaluate” and vote to approve this almost $2M budget. I voted “No”.

Questions I was able to ask:

  1. That the vote be postponed so that we could host a workshop for the public relative to the budget.
  2. That we review the proposed budget going line item by line item.
  3. Why did administrative salaries jump by $40,000.00?
  4. How is it possible that a tiny District with only seven employees (not all full time) has a salary budget of $957,000.00?
  5. Why was this budget NOT based on how much money we knew NYWD would be receiving?

Responses I received:

  1. (Terry Brown): “I didn’t wait until today to come in and ask my questions.” Ok – so Director Brown asks his questions in private? Where is the public process in this? How does this help the public? How is this Transparent?
  2. (Doug Neilson): “Well this is based on the previous year. Almost every number is what was spent in the previous year. Since 2017, we have been approving these based on the previous years.” Ok – that doesn’t negate the need to go through the budget and that is not a responsible way to prepare a budget.
  3. (Eric Hansard): “I got my answer from Jeff by coming in and we’re bringing in a new finance manager“. How is this transparent? It is now November 2019 and no sign of a new finance manager…

Most disturbing to me, is the absence of reasonable precautions. Here is the approximate amount of money NYWD KNOWS it will have each year:

  1. From the water sale to Yuba City, Taxes, Services to irrigation and Domestic, Other arbitrary things including charging NYWD customers for board packets: ~$500,000.00
  2. As a result of the 2005 Agreement with SFWPA – NYWD receives a guaranteed $709,000.00 per year. Although this money was intended to be used solely for maintenance and repair of the Forbestown Ditch – it has never been used for that and instead has been placed in the coffers and used for other things like shiny new trucks for the GM’s personal use, new computers, new video cameras……

Grand Total NYWD Can Count on Each Year = $1,209,000.00

Total Budget Approved by the Four Culpable Directors for 2091/2020: $1.74M.

Total Potential Deficit: $531,000.00

NYWD is counting on money from Power Revenues from SFWPA. There is NO WAY to know there will actually be any revenues.

October 24, 2019: NYWD Board of Four Culpable Directors votes to award $40,000.00 to a PR firm. This was not in the budget. When I objected, GM Maupin exclaimed: “We have $5M in the bank!

Budget-Shmudget! Meh!

2 Comments on “Budget?? Meh!

  1. This is an excellent, easy-to-understand, example of the ongoing fiduciary irresponsibility of the four culpable NYWD Directors, Brown, Hansard, Hawthorne and Neilson. Here are other examples of their fiduciary negligence:

    1) They do not have a Bill Pay committee that reviews/approves bills. Manager Maupin opens every piece of mail first and then supposedly gives all bills to be paid to the Finance Director. There are no other eyes on the bills;
    2) They do not have a budgeting or finance committee to act as a first step in annual financial accountability;
    3) They have relinquished all grant procurement activities to the manager thereby allowing no oversight of substantiating grant needs, application review or periodic reporting of the status of grant monies – Manager Maupin has already wasted grant money due to negligence;
    4) Instead of tapping the NYWD reserves to pay for large-sum, emergency needs, the Manager is constantly grovelling for grants. Financial experts generally say that a solid reserve is one that can take care of anywhere from three to six months of the company’s expenses;
    5) The Manager and Finance Director never come to monthly Board meeting prepared to answer questions about the finances. Instead, Manager Maupin, always states, “I’ll get back to you,” and he never does. The culpable Directors are comfortable with this lack of follow up;
    6) The categories used on monthly reports, as well as annual budgets, are confusing and misleading. Is this done on purpose?;
    7) Annual audits are signed by the Manager, not the Board;
    8) The October NYWD newsletter devotes an entire article to justify their budgeting process – Director Flohr’s post shows how wrong, negligent and covert the manager and four culpable directors really are!

    • The NYWD secretary is now driving her second “new” automobile in five years. Must be a jam-up job she is doing to be compensated so generously. Perhaps I’m mistaken about the new automobile, but I see it parked in the driveway of her mom’s home several times a week in the same way her old car used to be parked for a visit. One can’t begrudge another of a good salary, but when morality and culpability is creeping into the equation, one can only surmise until the facts are uncovered.

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