Third vote to tap Coatesville trust fund fails

Finance director says $2.25 million needed to avert crisis

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Despite the threat of City Hall furloughs, City Council failed to pass an ordinance to withdraw more than $2 million from the city’s trust fund.

For the third time in less than a month, Coatesville City Council failed to garner enough votes tonight to transfer more than $2 million from its trust fund to meet operating expenses, eliciting frustration from all sides.

At a special meeting called to address the issue, the vote by the six council members present split 3-3.  Joseph Hamrick, Ingrid Jones and Ed Simpson voted to release the funds, and David C. Collins, C. Arvilla Hunt and Jeff LoPrinzi opposed the transfer. Jarrell Brazzle was not present.

Finance Director John Marcarelli, who has estimated the city needs  $2.247 million for the remainder of the year, said the city can only meet one more payroll with its existing revenue.

While acknowledging the inevitability of having to tap the trust fund, council members have repeatedly expressed a reluctance to withdraw the money without assurances that more won’t be needed before year’s end. The fund, which started at $39 million after the city sold its water and sewer company in 2000, is down to about $11 million.

After the meeting, Council President David C. Collins said he needs to see steps taken to reduce “the hemorrhaging.”  Skyrocketing legal costs have taken a toll, he said, especially in the Police Department, which has been plagued by lawsuits and lax management. He said as many as seven more suits could surface before the end of the year.

“We need to see what definite course of action we need to take,” Collins said. “There’s not an action plan … We need to have something in place before the 2013 budget proposal.”

Collins said council members who opposed the withdrawal would be submitting the questions they want answered before the next vote to Marcarelli and City Manager Kirby Hudson as soon as possible.

Hudson, who said he has had to spend time calming employees worried about future paychecks, said the issue would appear again on Monday night’s agenda. He said that he was not sure what additional information council members needed but that he would attempt to provide it.

Simpson said he hoped that the council members who said they would vote for the withdrawal if their questions were answered would keep their word. “We have another shot,” said Simpson. “I’m just hoping we can get things resolved. I would hate to see us have to furlough people.”

The transfer issue first came up for a vote on Sept. 10, when Brazzle and Hamrick voted yes, and Hunt and Collins voted no. Two weeks later, Jones and Hamrick voted yes, and the other five members voted no, citing a need for more information.



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  1. The Mayor and Mr. Hudson did the right thing when they hired Steve Johnson for your Chief of Police. I am award winning author and ex wife of Chief of Police in Lancaster, PA. You must make it a habit to vet your future chief of police. Many of them have a history of DOMESTIC Violence!

  2. EX Coatesvillian says:

    I can not tell you how happy I am that I am an “EX Coatesvillian”!

    Why doesn’t the City contact the insurance companies, and request that they ‘rush’ the reimbursements due to the City for their share of the Legal Claims that the City paid out? If the City’s share was $50K for each claim but $225K was paid out (in 1 case) then the City should be due enough money from the insurance companies to keep the City solvent until at least next payday…..since that seems to be City Management’s overwhelming concern.

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