City Still Without Budget, But Unbudgeted Money Spent

DUNCANVILLE, TX – On September 17, the Duncanville City Council passed a budget for fiscal year 2013-2014. The final step in the budget approval process is for the budget to be signed by the mayor. However, on September 25, City Manager Greg Contreras presented Mayor Deborah Hodge with a budget that was $50,000 over the budget approved by the City Council.
Mayor Hodge refused to go along with the extra $50,000 expense and insisted on signing the original budget. A meeting on October 10, 2013 between Mayor Hodge, City Manager Contreras, and Budget Director Richard Summerlin concluded with Contreras agreeing to withdraw the additional expense and present Mayor Hodge with the original budget.
However, a week later, Mayor Hodge was informed that the $50,000 was already spent, given to city employees on October 16 as additional “retention pay.”
The mystery evolves because at the City Council meeting on October 15, the day before the checks were sent out, no mention was made of the unbudgeted $50,000 by any city staff member — and as this paper goes to press, the city still does not have a signed budget.
State law and the City Charter forbid the City from spending more money than is budgeted. The City has violated state law, violated the City Charter, and there is no explanation where the additional $50,000 came from. Are taxes going to need to be raised, or is another expenditure that was approved by the City Council not going to be taken care off? Stay tuned as this develops.