City puts financials online

The people spoke, and the City of Yuma leaders have listened.
The city’s budgets from 2016 through 2021, as well as the audit reports from 2016 to 2019, the most recent one available, are now posted on its website, The employee organizational and pay chart also are now on the website.
All of it can be found under the “City Council” pulldown menu at the website.
Council members agreed to posting the information online during a workshop held July 15 at City Hall.
The workshop was held in response to sentiment expressed by community members during a town hall meeting hosted earlier last week at the Yuma Enrichment and Community Center to discuss the general fund and enterprise funds. (The city and council are considering a possible sales tax question for November’s ballot as it is becoming increasingly difficult to financially meet the needs of the current services funded through the general fund.)
Community members had pointed out during the Town Hall Meeting that the city’s budget and audit were not available online, and also noted it was not possible to discern individual salaries within the budget — particularly since some administrative salaries have been spread about among several different department budgets, including Enterprise Funds, in order to help alleviate pressure on the General Fund.
The council could not make an official decision by roll-call vote last Thursday, since it was a workshop, but the members did reach a consensus as administration sought direction. In attendance were Mayor Ron Swehla and council members Daniel Ebersole, Marc Shay and Tim McClung. Marylu Smith-Dischner participated via Zoom, while Dan Baucke and Steve Hoch were absent.
Speaking of which, another change by the city seems to be going to hybrid meetings, in which one can attend in-person but also still having the option of attending via Zoom.
City Manager Scott Moore started the work shop noting that the town hall meeting made it apparent that some citizens find there is a lack of transparency. He said the city staff was ready to post budgets and audits on the website, as well as salaries, and asked council members if they wanted the city to move ahead with it.
There was discussion about how far back to go with the budgets and audits, particularly since the budget always has previous years final numbers also. Council members also discussed just putting the audit’s opinion letter online instead of the while document.
In the end, the council’s consensus was to put everything on the website dating back to 2016.
It was agreed upon to put current salary and organizational chart also on the website.
“It’s all public record,” Swehla said. “If people want to see it, put it out there.”
Moore and the council also hit on some other subjects during the workshop. One was the Lake Yuma Project, and the overall stormwater plan the city has in place. Moore explained a Department of Local Affairs grant paid for a study of Yuma’s stormwater runoff infrastructure, which identified a number of issues that could be addressed.
The city manager said one of them had to be implemented within a certain amount of time in order to meet the grant’s requirements. Top on the list was fixing up Lake Yuma, with a DOLA grant covering half of the approximately $500,000 project.
Other issues identified by the study are more extensive and expensive than the Lake Yuma work. Moore said it will probably go into the millions of dollars to address it all, such as expansion of underground stormwater pipes.
Also, even though the council meetings have returned to in-person, the city will continue to provide remote participation for anyone interested through Zoom. Moore said the city staff had discussed using a platform such as Facebook Live, but the staff would not be able to monitor it in a respectful way. (Just watch a Governor Jared Polis press conference on Facebook Live to understand.)
Council members again reiterated they were happy to see such a good turnout at the town hall meeting held earlier in the week.
Public comment was accepted at the end of the workshop. Duane Brown said he thought it was important the audit is on the website. He also touched on the decades-long practice of transferring $500,000 from the Electric Fund into the General Fund each year, saying he had concern that pending legal decisions could result in that being treated like a tax increase, which would lead to issues with TABOR.
He lastly stated that he feels pursuing a sales tax increase is the best way to help the city meet its financial needs, since a sales tax is dispersed over a wide number of people.