photo courtesy of uhuru1701
Talk about a windfall.
You know the feeling you get when you find a couple dollars in quarters in the couch cushions? Or that rumpled twenty dollar bill that you just can't figure out how you didn't notice it was missing. Well imagine finding a lot more than that. A lot more. $29,999,980 more. That's just what the city of San Antonio recently found. It appears that varying amounts from city projects has been left in accounts after the projects were closed out and all this money has been floating around in the banking system, earning interest the whole time. The money is from over a thousand different projects dating back 25 years.
How did it happen?
Apparently, the city would finish a project and have a surplus of money that had been ear-marked for the project. Instead of pulling the last bits of change out of the account, they would move on to the next project. A $1,000,000 project might wind up under-budget for $1,000, so that money sat there earning interest the whole time. How the accountants for the city didn't notice this is beyond me, but in some ways, its nice that they did. Everyone likes some surprise money, don't they?
Where will it go?
The City has decided to collect all the money and reinvest it into the city on various projects that had been shelved or were waiting for funding. Each city council district will receive a share of the collected funds to complete various public works in their pipelines. I wonder if they'll forget to account for any under-budget surpluses this time? City Manager Sheryl Sculley has said new procedures will be put in place to make sure this doesn't happen again. I'm not sure if I think that's the best idea though...what if we could find another $30 million in 25 years? Let's start a city loose change jar and use it once every 25 years on something big, instead of just dividing it up on smaller projects. Perhaps a city wide party every 25 years to thank all of us citizens of San Antonio. "Fiesta 25" (my new name for my proposed city-wide event) - Bigger, better, and with tons of cash! Forget the Oyster Bake, let's have a Lobster Boil every 25 years and make it a free event!