According to today's paper, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has spent $79,879 to do work at the Erie Street Market - and that amount was NOT included in the financial statement presented earlier this week.
When these expenditures are added in, there is a loss of $53,611 for the first six months of the year.
Carty issued a press release yesterday saying, "Last year at this time, the building was running a deficit of approximately $50,000." At least that $50,000 deficit reflected accurate accounting and all expenses. Carty's estimate of a profit at ESM doesn't. And now that we know the cost of the renovations, it appears we're at a deficit of at least $53,611 - just like last year.
The mayor's public information officer told WSPD News that the costs would be covered by the profits from the concerts in that particular bay in the market. If the costs are supposed to be reimbursed by the profits, they should definitely be listed in the expenses. Whether or not there will be enough profit from the events is another question entirely. We'll see...
In the meantime, city council is angry that the work was broken down into 13 different contracts in order to avoid requiring approval by them. Toledo's city charter allows expenditures under $10,000 to be made without a separate ordinance by council, so long as the money is budgeted. There is, of course, the potential for abuse as we can clearly see in the way Carty set up the renovations at ESM. Obviously, Carty was afraid that council, which balked at funding ESM but eventually gave in, might not give its approval - especially if the financials were accurate.
So, he broke the work down into small contracts in order to avoid the legal requirement of going before city council.
"We are on the verge of making a huge breakthrough with the Erie Street Market," Mr. Finkbeiner said. "I would assume any smart person would expect that it would take some expenditures to do what we said was going to be done there."
So now anyone who challenges his expenditures is dumb?
The work is supposed to be finished this week, in time for the first events in that bay. What's not mentioned is that the first concert planned for Saturday evening was previously scheduled to be at a local club, Headliners. It's now going to be in a city-sponsored venue, taking the money and work away from an existing private business. And Carty thinks this city is 'business-friendly.'
"So now we are 48 hours before an opening and all of a sudden everyone wants to go negative, and I think that's unfair," Mr. Finkbeiner said.
"We are going to concede the defeat of Toledo if people don't begin to see there is a lot of good strong positive things being done and all we are hearing about is the negative," Mr. Finkbeiner said.
Um...mayor...we're not being negative - you're making bad decisions and we're pointing it out. It isn't US being negative - it's your detrimental decisions that are the problem. If you don't want people to point out the problems with your decisions, stop making bad decisions!
This story will continue to evolve ... and I'll keep you informed.