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Ward 1 Candidate Question of the Week: Reserve Funds

Ward 1 Gulfport City Council candidates David Hastings and Dan Liedtke answer our fifth Gulfport Patch 'Candidate Question of the Week.'

Voters will head to the polls March 13 to decide who will represent them as Gulfport City Council member for Wards 1 and 3.

To help inform the community, Patch will publish a City Council candidate Question of the Week for both wards.

Below, you will find the answers for the Ward 1 Candidates: David Hastings and Dan Liedtke.

Gulfport Patch Question of the Week: "Where do you stand on using General Fund Reserves to balance the City’s Operating Budget?"

David Hastings

"I do not agree with using General Reserve funds to balance the budget. The City Council passed Resolution 2003-11 in 2003 requiring the City to maintain an amount in the General Fund Reserves equal to 25% of the previous years budget. That 25% reserve can only be used for an emergency as authorized by sections 310 and 311 of the City Charter. In 2003 we had over $7 million in reserves with an operating budget of some $8 million. Ever since 2003 our budgeted expenses have exceeded our budgeted income and the previous councils have used the reserves as one component to help offset the deficits. As a result today we stand with only $4.5 million dollars in reserves on a $10 million dollar budget or 44% which is still above the 25% mandated by Resolution 2003-11 but $3.5 million less than it was in 2003.  

A 25% reserve or three months of operating expenses is well below what lenders require when seeking loans either on a personal or business basis. Many lenders require up to twelve months operating cash on hand. Why then would government be different especially when the monthly expenses we would incur after an emergency event would most likely greatly exceed those of a typical month. I believe it critical that we maintain a minimum of six months operating cash on hand. I believe we need to re-think the methodology by which we calculate the reserve and insure that it is in line with the best practices of other government entities as well as those of lenders and risk evaluation firms."

For more information about David Hastings view his website.

Dan Liedtke

Updated: Dan Liedtke has refused to answer the question on this forum and is asking readers to view his answer in the FAQ section of his website.

Updated Feb. 22, 9:29 a.m.: Based on information from the candidate's website, here is a synopsis of his views on whether to use General Fund Reserves to meet the needs of the Operations Budget for running the city.

Liedtke stated that because of the economic downturn, he supports tapping "excess reserve funds," instead of cutting "police services" and "raising property taxes." The excess Liedtke refers to are the dollars above the goal of putting aside 25 percent of the previous year's general fund budget.

Liedtke states on his website that the city has at least $2 million more than what is required under the City Charter. Given the tough economic times, Liedtke believes leaders should consider using some of the reserves to address "immediate financial challenges."

Liedtke declined this week to respond in writing to Patch's "Question of the Week" posed to City Council candidates, referring this reporter to his website. Liedtke wrote on Monday in an email to Local Editor Cherlene Willis "due to so much negativity in the comments section," he does not want participate in the forum.

The next "Question of the Week" will run Monday or Tuesday.

 

Teddy Kehoe February 21, 2012 at 07:45 PM
@ Patch... why that doesn't seem unbias... He did send you an answer and you had it posted earlier this morning. Does everyone get a do over after they submitt their answers and don't like them????
Cherlene Willis February 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Mr. Kehoe, We appreciate you reading and commenting on Gulfport Patch. In regards to the article above, there was a miscommunication. The situation has been addressed/updated on this article on Gulfport Patch. Website links to both Mr. Hastings and Mr. Liedtke have been provided. Thanks, Cherlene
mtober February 21, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Goodness gracious Cherlene,looks like you have changed this yet again. Earlier you stated that Mr. Liedtke refused to respond on this forum. Who is writing the rules for this game, you or the candidates? Who manages the Gulfport Patch - you or the candidates? Why are the rules changing in mid-stream? It certainly doesn't seem fair that you now have to reference a web site for each candidate each week because of one person. Is it fair to Mr. Perry to single him out? I believe you indicated in your candidate profiles whether or not each had a website. Seems that would have been sufficient. It is difficult to compare / comment when both answers can't be seen together. You are doing your readers a dis-service by allowing one candidate to hold your process hostage five weeks into the game. Please consider your readers and consider going back to the original process,
mtober February 21, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Also, please consider that by refusing to post an answer on this forum the candidates can change their response at a whim on their WWW. One of the benefits of this forum is to inform the public in a fair and equitable fashion by reflecting a response for which the candidate is accountable. Clearly The Gulfport Patch has now decided against dispensing information to the public absent of influence by the candidates. This saddens me greatly.
Teddy Kehoe February 21, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Liedtke has already changed his site...
Douglas Hudson February 21, 2012 at 09:48 PM
After speaking to Cherlene, today, I understand that Mr Liedtke asked that she remove his original answer from this forum, and direct voters to his campaign website for his answer. Mr Liedtke could not play by GulfportPatch's simple rules, the same rules that apply to the other 3 candidates. Why would he do this? Why would he not allow his answer to remain here, in one location, so voters can read the candidates' answers side by side? Maybe because he has now seem the answers given by the other 3 candidates, and was able to change his answer accordingly. You know...like cheating on a test. GulfportPatch is a news source in this community. Patch's response to Mr Liedtke's demand, in deleting his original answer, is poor journalism and does not benefit the voters in this election. Cherlene, Please consider reposting Mr Liedtke's original answer here, on this forum. That is the way it has been done in the past, and it is unacceptable that he has pressured you into removing his answer..
Katie Dolac February 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM
It's a shame that all the candidates don't take advantage of Gulfport Patch as a forum for their ideas and beliefs.
Lynda February 21, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I disagree that it is Cherlene's responsibility to ensure all candidates take advantage of the opportunity to answer questions on Patch. She gives every candidate an equal opportunity. Candidates can choose to participate or not. Any voter who reads Patch will be able to evaluate that Mr. Liedtke's answer is to read his web page as well as his decision to ask Cherlene to remove an answer already given. In any of the in person candidate forums candidates had the chance to hear their opponent's answers to some questions and shape their answers accordingly. Patch is not the place for "gotcha" journalism; and Cherlene was correct in agreeing to Mr. Liedtke's demand to remove his answer. It will be up to the voters to decide how appropriate that demand was.
mario cervantes February 21, 2012 at 11:32 PM
I BELIEVE HIS ANSWER WAS SIMPLE, SPEND,SPEND,SPEND THE RESERVE. WAKE UP PEOPLE,HE WILL BANKRUPT OUR CITY.HE IS LIKE PAST COUNCIL MEMBERS WHO TOOK FROM THE RESERVES AND CALLED THAT BALANCING THE BUDGET.WOULD LIKE TO ASK, WHAT HAS HE DONE FOR THE CITY OF GULFPORT? HE THINKS THAT SIGNS ARE ENOUGH,MR.LIEDTKE,THE PEOPLE IN THIS CITY ARE NOT AS STUPID AS YOU MAY THINK. YOU ARE USING THEM FOR YOUR OWN AGENDA. SHAME ON YOU.
Teddy Kehoe February 22, 2012 at 01:15 AM
I guess we can expect the same jonalistic integrity from the patch as we get from the FISHWRAPPER (Gabber)...
mtober February 22, 2012 at 01:34 AM
@ Lynda- totally agree with you that The Patch is not the place for "gotcha" journalism but that is excatly what Cherlene has permitted by allowing a candidate to dictate to her what she should do. I agree she should not have printed the response if he didn't want it posted. However, acquiescing to his demand to post his www was nothing more than a ploy to get people over there ( free advertising basically) and Cherlene fell for it and changed the rules of this weekly question forum 1/2 way thru the game. Obviously there is a bias for this candidate. Liedtke didn't like the sign ordinance and threatened to sue the City. Liedtke finds a way to lure people to his www and decides he will demand a change in process and rules. This is not the kind of behavior that is becomming of an elected official.
mtober February 22, 2012 at 01:36 AM
@ Lynda- totally agree with you that The Patch is not the place for "gotcha" journalism but that is excatly what Cherlene has permitted by allowing a candidate to dictate to her what she should do. I agree she should not have printed the response if he didn't want it posted. However, acquiescing to his demand to post his www was nothing more than a ploy to get people over there ( free advertising basically) and Cherlene fell for it and changed the rules of this weekly question forum 1/2 way thru the game. Obviously there is a bias for this candidate. Liedtke didn't like the sign ordinance and threatened to sue the City. Liedtke finds a way to lure people to his www and decides he will demand a change in process and rules. This is not the kind of behavior that is becomming of an elected official.
mtober February 22, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I plan to contact Patch's Editorial Board regarding the biased journalism displayed here today. Here is their link if anyone else wishes to do the same. http://www.patch.com/about#editorial_board
mario cervantes February 22, 2012 at 02:30 AM
IF MR.LIEDTKE WINS THIS ELECTION,IT WON'T BE BECAUSE HE HAS FOLLWED THE RULES. HE THREATENED THE CITY WITH A LETTER FROM HIS LAWYER BECAUSE HE DOESN'T LIKE THE ORDINANCE REGARDING THE SIGNS, HE MAYBE REALIZED HOW STUPID HIS ANSWER WAS REGARDING THE QUESTION THIS WEEK AND HE TALKED MS.WILLIS INTO DOING WHAT HE WANTED.SHE SHOULD POST HIS ORIGINAL ANSWER AGAIN.JUST LIKE THE GABBER,WHO MADE AN ISSUE OF THE WOMANS HUSBAND,WHO WAS SUING THE CITY OF ST.PETE BEACH, AND NOT ONE WORD FROM THE GABBER ON MR. LIEDTKE'S THREAT. NOT ONE MENTION HOW MR.LIEDTKE THREATENED JIM O'REILLEY'S JOB.MR. WORTHINGTON CAN CONFIRM THAT STATEMENT,AND STILL HERE WE ARE WITH THESE TWO WOMEN WHO CALL THEMSELVES JOURNALIST,I ASK A SIMPLE QUESTION, LADIES, WHAT IS YOUR AGENDA WITH MR.LIEDTKE? BE VERY CAREFULL WHAT YOU ASK FOR,YOU MIGHT GET IT.
Lynda February 22, 2012 at 03:10 AM
I am sorry you feel Cherlene was biased in allowing the link to Mr. Liedtke's site to serve as his answer to this week's Patch question; I don't agree. I think including links to the sites of both candidates was the fair way to handle Mr. Liedtke's demand. It is too bad that the focus of the discussion has shifted from his actions to the journalism of Patch. It lets him off the hook when voters should be looking carefully at this candidate's actions and the merits of the answer that did appear on his site. I admit to being uncomfortable with any candidate who appears to bully people (JD Alexander?) just for ego's sake. I wouldn't hire any employee who has acted with such contempt for others. And when it comes to it, we voters are hiring these candidates as employees.
Lynda February 22, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Thanks for the link.
mtober February 22, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Here's Liedtke's answer as of a few moments ago....Right now significant excess reserves exist, the economy is still fighting a recession, many people are stressed with their mortgages and too many are out of work. Under these conditions I would support using some of the excess reserve funds to help balance the budget before I would support raising property taxes and cutting police services. In 2011 the city of Gulfport had a significant reserve fund of approximately 46% of the General Fund Budget. The city of Gulfport is required to maintain 25% of the previous year’s General Fund Budget. By definition in the City Charter we currently have an excess of more than $2,000,000 in the reserves. Anyone who claims they know the right amount of money to have in the reserves is simply speculating. I support the City Charter and following the 25% provision. I also believe the people of Gulfport can manage their own money better than the government. Just like any household facing challenging times, all good councils should be considering the merits of utilizing the money they have set aside as part of the plans to address immediate financial challenges, with a view to building up the reserves again in the sunnier days to come.
googuygreg February 22, 2012 at 03:57 AM
wow Mtober… Looks like you are a pretty big bully. Maybe you should turn it down a notch and let it go. I'm pretty sure there is no point in beating a dead horse. Cherlene has always bent over backwards for YOU and this community. She always keeps things unbiased and attacking her the way that you are makes you look bad. I doubt a simple journalist has anything to gain from the outcome of this election.
mtober February 22, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Lynda- You are correct that the Patch should not be the topic rather Liedtke's response and actions should be. The key is that the patch opted to create that discussion when they acquiesced to the demands of one candidate and opted to change the rules mid-stream. How are they now providing information to the public for which a candiadate can be accountable. Referring one to the candidates www does nothing as that can change like the wind blows. >>
mtober February 22, 2012 at 04:07 AM
What is interesting is Liedtke talks about the economy still fighting a recession yet early on he had posts wherein he chastized the notion of "blaming the economy" . It would also appear that Mr. liedtke is unaware that money is being broowed from the reserves for sewer repairs. Why is that being done? becuase previous City Councils utilized the Sewer enterprise funds to balance the operating bugdet rather than use it for the Sewer enterprise. So the $4mil reserve of which he speaks is not totally available. Also what is meant by: "I also believe the people of Gulfport can manage their own money better than the government."? Mr. Liedtke also wants to spend the reserves and build them back up during the sunny days, just as we do in our households. Just as he says no one can identify a magic number for a reserve amount I would suggest that we also don't know when the sunnier days will arrive. Exactly how much should be spent? What is a safe amount to spend? Mr Liedtke has also said that Gulfport has world class assets that should be used to generate revenue? What are those world class assets and how will they generate revenue?
mtober February 22, 2012 at 04:10 AM
@googuygreg- Actually the only bully in all of this is Candidate Leidtke. As to the Patch it would be nice if they followed their own rules and prohibted anonymous posts.
googuygreg February 22, 2012 at 04:25 AM
@mtober- Sir, you have quite a mind. Maybe you should go to Baynews9 and tell them all your ideas and see about getting a spotlight on their evening show so that you could reach a bigger audience…
Nancy Kelley February 22, 2012 at 11:48 AM
The answer that MTober posted from Liedtke is the answer that appeared in the Patch at 6:00 Feruary 21. I can only assume that Liedtke, after reading Mr. Hastings in depth,knowledgeable response, Mr Liedtke (or his camp) decided his response was naive, uninformed, and inferior to Mr. Hastings. In my opinion Mr Liedtke pressuring Patch to refer to his www. was WRONG. Patch directing to Mr. Liedtke's www. was, in my opinion also WRONG. This gave Mr Lied tke time to look at Mr Hastings excellent response and alter his own on www. which he did. In my opinion Mr. Liedtke does not play by the rules unless they are HIS RULES. Ann Marie Anderson & Nancy Kelley
Nancy Kelley February 22, 2012 at 11:54 AM
I see no need for Patch to post questions on this Forum to Mr. Liedtke as it appears he will not answer them here. Now I would like to post a link to my www. I have a bridge to sell.
googuygreg February 22, 2012 at 01:58 PM
well stated!
Lynda February 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM
@goodguygreg. Usually when personal comments are made on this Patch, they are in some way relevant to the discussion at hand. Mtober's knowledge of Gulfport often provides interesting and useful information when she comments. I don't always agree with her conclusions, but I always appreciate her perspective. While she doesn't need anyone to defend her, I think your attempt to distract from the discussion of the candidates' answers is unfortunate.
mario cervantes February 22, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I ENCOURAGE MR.HASTINGS, MR.PERRY AND DR. SALMON TO STOP ANSWERING QUESTIONS ON THIS FORUM AND THE GABBER. THIS ELECTION FOR THE LIEDTKE SUPPORTERS ,IS PERSONAL.. MS. WILLIS AND MS. SALUSTRI ARE PART OF THE INNER CIRCLE OF FRIENDS THAT ARE PUSHING LIEDTKE.MS.WILLIS PROVED THAT BY TAKING DOWN MR.LIEDTKE'S ORIGINAL ANSWER AND MS. SALUSTRI BY HER SILENCE.YOU KNOW WHAT I AM SICK OF? MS.SALUSTRI, YOU STATED "NO ONE SEEMS TO BE WHO THEY ARE" START WITH YOURSELF. I HOPE, THAT BY GIVING THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE, ENOUGH ROPE THEY WILL HANG THEMSELVES. THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR GREED, THIS IS THE TIME TO THINK OF EVERY PERSON WHO LIVES IN THIS CITY.MR. LIEDTKE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU ME OR ANYONE ELSE. HE WANTS TO KEEP TAXES LOW BECAUSE HE LIVES IN A 1.2MILLION DOLLAR HOME, AND I SUSPECT, IF HE HAS TOO, SOONER OR LATER,GET RID OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, HE ,AFTER ALL, LIVES IN A GATED COMMUNITY WITH 24/7 SECURITY.HE SAYS HE WILL NOT RAISE TAXES,SO WHEN HE SPENDS THE RESERVES WHAT WILL HE GET RID OF? THE POLICE DEPARTMENT,THAT IS THE BIGGEST PART OF THE BUDGET.THE THREE COUNCIL PEOPLE WHO VOTED TO GET RID OF DISPATCH, DID THE RIGHT THING,THE DISPATCHERS,AS I UNDERSTAND IT, HAVE JOBS WITH THE PSO. THE BIGGEST PROBLEM I SEE ARE THE TWO REPORTERS WHO ARE PLAYING GAMES WITH THIS ELECTION AND ARE FAR FROM HONEST AND ETHICAL.IF THEY ARE TRYING TO FIND A FRIEND FOR MR. HENDERSON AND THE MAYOR ON COUNCIL, THE CITY WILL BE BANKRUPT FOR SURE. THINK WITH YOUR HEADS AND NOT YOUR EMOTIONS.
mtober February 23, 2012 at 01:52 AM
From above...Updated Feb. 22, 9:29 a.m.: Based on information from the candidate's website, here is a synopsis of his views on whether to use General Fund Reserves to meet the needs of the Operations Budget for running the city. Liedtke stated that because of the economic downturn, he supports tapping "excess reserve funds," instead of cutting "police services" and "raising property taxes." The excess Liedtke refers to are the dollars above the goal of putting aside 25 percent of the previous year's general fund budget. Liedtke states on his website that the city has at least $2 million more than what is required under the City Charter. Given the tough economic times, Liedtke believes leaders should consider using some of the reserves to address "immediate financial challenges." Liedtke declined this week to respond in writing to Patch's "Question of the Week" posed to City Council candidates, referring this reporter to his website. Liedtke wrote on Monday in an email to Local Editor Cherlene Willis "due to so much negativity in the comments section," he does not want participate in the forum.
Gulfporter February 23, 2012 at 03:44 AM
@Cherlene...so you have now posted the link to Liedtke's website three times. Is that the reward for unsportsmanlike conduct? ;-) Will this little game continue again next week or will you require everyone to play by the rules again ?
mtober February 29, 2012 at 03:11 AM
“I think we need to stop pretending we’re victims of the world economy. Let’s do the things we do.” – Dan Liedtke from the Town Shores Candidates Forum

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