During his election bid, Missoula City Council member Jesse Ramos was a vocal critic of the $25 million dollar “accounting error” discovered by a local citizen in the city budget. Now that he is in office, Ramos has a front row seat to Missoula’s most recent error, one that has already led to dramatic cuts in the city’s rainy day fund and was presented to the council on December 20th.
“The mayor issued a memorandum to the council members and all of us were caught off guard, not just the new folks, but, I’m pretty sure, a lot of the folks that were already sitting on the council were caught off guard as well,” Ramos said. “The error, from what I understand was due to a misallocation of Capital Project Improvement accounts. It sounds like there was some overspending that happened in the parks department and the road department.”
Now sworn into office, Ramos and the other council members don’t seem to have much say on how the Capital Improvement Program error will be corrected. Mayor John Engen wrote in his memorandum (see bottom of page) that the city “needs to reallocate about $3 million dollars” and goes on to say that the correction to this error “does not require council action.” Ramos says he’s suspicious about the process the city is taking to correct its mistake and fears the public will have to pay for it.