Documents: Galesville has doubled planned spending on attorney fees

In a year that included spending on a months-long public feud between two elected officials, the City of Galesville has more than doubled its planned spending on legal matters in 2023, according to city documents.

A special city council meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14 to address “current and future attorney costs”, according to the agenda. 

The City has spent $28,238.28 on attorney fees this year—more than double the $12,000 it budgeted for 2023—as of Oct. 31, according to the city council packet for November.

The city council is not obligated to vote on budget changes when subcategories reach negative amounts unless the overall budget as a whole is in the negative. This is because more revenues could still come in before the end of the year and the budget can still end balanced, clerk/treasurer Jennifer Hess told the Times.

Some of the attorney overage relates to day-to-day legal expenses such as required document reviews, attorney attendance at city council meetings and ordinance work. Other expenditures are related to work from previous city council feuds that saw a restraining order against Mayor Vince Howe from council member Tory-Kale Schulz and a later request by Howe to remove Schulz from his seat on the council that was eventually rescinded.

The council held a special meeting on Oct. 24 — one that both Howe and Schulz were absent from — to discuss possible litigation against the city.

Galesville’s legal expenses will likely continue to grow in the final months of 2023.

City ordinance 3-1-4 reads that “upon written recommendation of the mayor, the council may at any time, by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the entire membership, transfer any portion of an unencumbered balance of an appropriation to any other purpose of object. Notice of such transfer shall be given by publication within ten (10) days thereafter in the official newspaper of the city.”

Howe did not respond to multiple attempts by the Times last week to get his thoughts on the heightened bills prior to Tuesday’s meeting.

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