In his first week as Apopka’s new city administrator, Edward Bass has gone back to his roots.
The former finance director for the city of Apopka, Bass dove headfirst into the finance and budget process as soon as he walked in the door on Monday, May 7.
“The biggest things I’ve got to get going are budget and finance,” Bass said. “The budget, we’re deep into it now. The estimates for the property tax valuations will be coming out soon, usually June 1.”
The budget must be adopted by September 30 because the new fiscal year begins October 1, and while it may be more than four months before October 1 gets here, the budget process is a long one and because the city hasn’t had a permanent finance director since Pam Barclay retired several months ago.
In addition, other employees in the finance department have resigned.
“I’m trying to get up to speed,” Bass said. “I’m one of those who wants to know now, but (because of staff issues) I can’t get my hands on everything right now.
“My plan is, work hard and get the budget done because that’s A-1. That’s priority one and there’s nobody to do it, so I’ve got to do that.”
He’s also searching for a new finance director, but a new person wouldn’t be able to step right in and take over the process of getting the budget ready for City Council workshops that Mayor Bryan Nelson wants to hold in June.
“I’ve got to get a finance director,” Bass, who resigned in 2014 after 10 years as Apopka’s finance director, said. “I have a couple of good applications and I’m shocked because a lot of people will shy away when they are a little nervous (because of changes). I think that’s very, very critical because of the daily operations.”
Right now, Bass is collecting the budget documents from the various city department heads.
“What I’m trying to do is get the budget stuff,” he said. “I’ve asked for all the budget requests. That’s what they’ve all been submitting. I guess I have half of them, so I’m trying to get all those printed out so I can look at them. I have to build something first so I can see what I’ve got.”
When he does get all the necessary information, the new city administrator says that each line item in the budget will be scrutinized.
“I think we have to look at every single thing,” Bass said. “Step one, you’ve got to balance the budget. Right out of the chute, we’ve got to show that.”
For the full story, read the page 1A story in the Friday, May 11, issue of The Apopka Chief.