Oak Harbor council limits spending authority in anticipation of COVID-19 impacts

The Oak Harbor City Council significantly reduced the spending authority for all contracts in order to brace for the economic effects of COVID-19.

Councilmember Joel Servatius originally proposed the changes to Oak Harbor ordinance during last month’s regular meeting.

“With the recent resignation of our finance director, considering we’re entering into what’s likely to be a revenue constrained environment, and we’re also about to enter into a budget season kicking off a brand new two-year biennial cycle,” Servatius said,

“I think it’s more important than ever that council is diligently involved in monitoring finances and expenditures,” he added.

Servatius proposed a spending limit authority, requiring all contracts greater than $10,000 be subject to council approval.

Previously, council approval was needed for contracts greater than $30,000.

This is not the first time the council has restricted spending authority. In 2012, the then city council restricted the spending authority of former mayor Scott Dudley.

Mayor Pro Tem Beth Munns said the 2012 restriction occurred when the city was losing 18 percent of its revenue and was done to prevent the city from depleting the reserve funds.

“I believe councilman Servatius feels like because we haven’t had a big drop yet that we just need to be a little tighter with our budget,” Munns said.

The motion passed unanimously.