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Disagreements arise at council meeting over claims docket

While the Meridian City Council voted to allow the city’s garbage fee to be raised by three dollars, one council member brought up concerns about code enforcement not doing all they can to reduce garbage disposal.

“Until we’re doing all that we can to actually reduce costs, it’s just like the proposed tax increase, there’s so much waste in the city and abuse of the system that until we eliminate that, it just seems downright wrong to increase fees or taxes until we take care of those issues first. It doesn’t mean we won’t have to increase later, but until we do the responsible thing and take care of the waste, I think it would be wrong to approve any increases,” says Councilman Weston Lindemann

This claim led to a bigger issue once it was time for the council to vote on this period’s claims docket. Lindemann once again brought up several things he claims are an issue such as fraudulent documents, part-time employees working full-time hours and not getting healthcare benefits, and employees getting excessive overtime that’s not justified. While Council President Fannie Johnson agrees with Lindemann on issues with code enforcement and some issues within payroll that need to be looked at, she still stands by voting yes in order to pay city bills and not have that fall back on the city. However, she does think there needs to be better communication overall and that payroll does need to be looked into.

Johnson says, “when you lose trust on one matter, you lose it on all of them. So, we need to build trust back between us, between administration. We need to get back on the same note. We need to start learning how to better balance the budget and not keep saying we need more money. Lets find out a way to work on less money.”

While there will be talks among the council over issues with the payroll, Lindemann claims something bigger must be done.

“There’s no way you can vote for this stuff in good faith without a complete forensic audit of the city that’s done independently, not from the same auditor that we’ve had for the past fifteen years, but someone who is going to be independent and actually get to the bottom of what’s going on here,” says Lindemann.

There will be a budget works session tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. at city hall.

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