Reality Check: Bay budget and other issues

In his last article, Alex Dade implied that the initial iteration of the Bay municipal budget, showing a large deficit, would prove to be a formidable hurdle for city officials to deal with. Reality? Virtually all municipalities begin the annual budget process with an initial iteration showing a deficit. The law requires the final version to be balanced, with no deficit. As is the case year after year, Bay's final budget will be balanced.

Dade also stated that the mayor has recommended the expenditure of $12.8 million on municipal building renovations. I reviewed the last several years of council meeting minutes and the city newsletter, and read nothing that would support Dade's contention. 

I noted several items in the minutes wherein council members and the mayor discussed, in general terms, one or more items relative to municipal building issues, but I found nothing that indicated any specific plans or costs. Just to be sure, I called the mayor and read Dade's comments to her and asked her if there was any truth to what he had written. When she stopped laughing, she assured me that the assertions were false. Perhaps Dade can provide a specific source for his accusations that will confirm their accuracy.

Our final dose of reality concerns Dade's comments relative to condo development in Bay Village. Dade expressed opposition to any legislation that would reduce the minimum lot size required for condo development and asserted that "several builders and developers were pushing to pass this change." Dade also claimed that there is another move brewing "that some contend would avoid the charter mandated voter OK before zoning is changed."

Where to start? First of all, other communities that are fully built out have either passed legislation reducing minimum lot size for condo development or are in the process of doing so. Rocky River is a prime example.

As to Dade's assertions relative to developers "pushing," I reviewed council and planning commission minutes for the last year and I did not find a single instance where any developer or builder even attended one of the meetings, let alone did any "pushing" on the issue. I talked to the mayor and two members of council, and none of them could recall any instance where they were approached and lobbied by a developer or builder on this or any other issue. The accusation relative to some kind of movement to circumvent the charter is just plain ludicrous. If Dade has any proof of any of his assertions, he ought to make that proof public.

There is clearly a difference between fact and opinion. There is a significantly lesser standard for accuracy in a newspaper column than in a reported story. There should be, however, a burden on the columnist to ensure that purported "facts" in his column that support his contentions are, indeed, factual. I will take pains in future columns to comply with that burden. I sincerely hope that Mr. Dade will attempt to do the same.

Tim Maloney is a former Bay Village resident who now lives in Avon Lake.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 11:48 AM, 01.13.2010