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The News-Press (Fort Myers, Florida)

January 16, 2008 Wednesday

Cape council members urge fiscal responsibility

Messages of increased fiscal oversight dominated speeches by two Cape Coral City Council members speaking to the Southwest Neighborhood Association at Oasis Middle School.

District 2 Councilman Pete Brandt said he wants to see increased power given to the city's budget review committee, saying he wants many budget amendments getting a review by that advisory board the same way major planning matters get review from the planning and zoning commission.

The councilman also said he wants to see auditor Michael Kessler brought back to city to look at utilities, and also wants to see the city's financial department to undergo a full compliance review.

"I don't think we have a complete picture of things right now," Brandt said.

District 3 Councilman Bill Deile also spoke about a need for tighter fiscal controls. He mentioned the council now requires budget amendments to be highlighted.

"Following the money trail is really the only way to unwind these issues," Deile said.

He also complained, in response to citizen questions, that information is not always brought to council members soon enough before meetings. He would like to see materials sooner, and also wants more than just a staff opinion about items, saying while he doesn't always distrust the staff information, he wants outside input as well.

The neighborhood association invited the newly-elected city councils to attend the evening tonight. Only Deile and Brandt attended.

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