City protects field funding - Bonner County Daily Bee: Local News

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City protects field funding

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Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — Advocates for Memorial Field’s restoration can rest easy knowing the city’s contribution to the project is safe.

Council members voted last Wednesday to secure the remainder of funds set aside during the council’s budgeting work this autumn. They reserved $300,000 for the project, $100,000 of which was already spent on replacing the lights. With $193,977 still available, Councilwoman Marsha Ogilvie aimed to ensure that those dollars are available when the time comes to rebuild the grandstands.

“There are leftover funds, and I’d like to ensure that those funds are committed to be spent at Memorial Field,” she said.

In an ordinance introduced at the regular council meeting, members created a new fund specially designated for Memorial Field. While the fund necessitates that the money be spent on Memorial Field, however, it doesn’t provide any stipulations for how the money should be spent.

The ordinance is more a restrictive measure for the City Council than anything else. While the City Council will still control the funds, they are still obligated to direct it toward Memorial Field restoration work.

“If there’s an emergency, (the council) could still rescind the ordinance,” Mayor Gretchen Hellar said. “But it would be kind of like if someone said, ‘We want to paint the clock tower at Farmin Field.’ Well, OK, but you can’t use these funds.”

However, the creation of a specific Memorial Field fund will also protect the city from accusations of overspending. The ordinance designates the already-budgeted items as designated for Memorial Field, and adding additional dollars to that amount will require a council-approved amendment.   

“Come budget-time, if you wanted to add more funds to (Memorial Field), you’d have to not only just allocate the funds — you’d have to reopen this,” City Attorney Scot Campbell said.

While Councilman John Reuter noted there were likely ways to dedicate money outside the fund to the Memorial Field project, council members nevertheless agreed the ordinance added more tidiness and security for the restoration efforts.

“This just reflects the commitment we’ve made,” Reuter said.

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