City Answers to City Councilor’s ‘No’ Votes at Meeting
Missoula City Councilor Jesse Ramos issued several ‘no’ votes during last Monday night’s city council meeting, and he sent an email to his constituents explaining why he was the sole dissenting vote that night.
The votes were 9-1 in favor.
Ward Four's Ramos said he asked Mayor Engen and the other council members about checks for over $11,000 for a business called ‘Infosend’, and no one seemed to know the answer.
“I voted no on that specifically because the mayor and no one on the council could answer my question as to what it was for, so I wasn’t comfortable doing that,” said Ramos. “Secondly, I was assured that the revenue from the revenue bond would be paying for the water company and it wouldn’t be coming out of the general fund, and these checks came out of the general fund.”
City of Missoula Communications Director Ginny Merriam responded to KGVO’s question about the funds distributed to Infosend, that the company helps to handle billing for Missoula Water.
“Why is if this not being charged to he water utility if it is a water utility expense? It is being charged to the water utility,” Merriam said.
Another ‘no’ vote from Ramos was regarding bills to the law firm of Boone Karlberg for continuing legal expenses over the water company acquisition.
“I met with Boone Karlberg, and they kind of gave me the runaround, and they still won’t tell me or let me see the individualized bills as to what we’re paying for,” he said. “So, I’m not going to be voting ‘yes’ for any of that, and again, this is coming out of the general fund, so why is it not coming out of the revenue bond?”
Merriam explained that even though the condemnation lawsuit was successful and the city now owns the water utility, there are still legal proceedings underway.
“There are two issues that are on appeal to the Montana Supreme Court,” she said. “One of them is Judge’s Townsend’s interest ruling, which is being appealed for a second time by the other side,” she said. “The other is the attorney’s fees award, and they are appealing that to the Supreme Court. So, there are still attorney’s fees being paid to Boone Karlberg, and they are also being charged to the water utility.”
Ramos said he will be communicating with his constituents about his council votes on a regular basis.