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A month late, Hemet finally musters a budget

By in Press Enterprise on July 27, 2017

By Craig Shultz

Almost one month after it was due, Hemet finally has a budget.

But that doesn’t mean some members of the City Council are happy with it.

The council voted 3-2 Tuesday, July 26, to approve an $81 million spending plan despite concerns about how much was budgeted for some departments and how parts of the budget were presented.

“It’s important we stop playing shell games with the budget,” Councilman Michael Perciful said before the vote. “We need to have a serious look where the money is going and clean up the budget.”

After cutting the amount of money earmarked for the engineering department and the city attorney, Karlee Meyer proposed passing the budget, along with a hiring freeze for all positions outside of public safety.

But her motion failed and the budget was passed without the freeze with Linda Krupa, Bonnie Wright and Russ Brown in favor and Meyer and Perciful voting against.

“We have a responsibility to continue providing all the services we’re required to deliver,” Brown said before the vote.

He said there are key positions that need to be filled.

Hemet is currently without a city engineer or budget director. The previous engineer, Derek Wieske, lasted about one month on the job before resigning for personal reasons. Former Murrieta administrator Joy Canfield, who was filling in as interim finance director, is no longer with the city.

Municipalities are supposed to have their budgets completed by the end of June for the fiscal year that begins July 1. When the Hemet council couldn’t come to an agreement, a resolution was passed to continue with last year’s spending plan in the interim to keep city services moving.

Wright called this the most intensive budgeting process in her five years on council. The work came as three members have joined the panel in the past year. Meyer and Perciful were […]    

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