At his first meeting as a member of Westerville City Council, Tim Davey made his presence known, including through nine proposed amendments to the 2016 budget that were ruled out-of-order.

At his first meeting as a member of Westerville City Council, Tim Davey made his presence known, including through nine proposed amendments to the 2016 budget that were ruled out-of-order.

Davey, who defeated incumbent Pete Otteson in the Nov. 3 election, campaigned on conservative financial ideas and touted the importance of smart spending and cutting costs and what he termed "government interference."

He introduced those ideas during the comments stage of adopting the city's 2016 budget, which had been built and discussed over the course of multiple months with city staff and council.

Davey began by asking why the city spends $380,500 on discretionary funds to various organizations.

"Can you give me some background on why we're basically taking public money and giving it to public charities?" he asked.

City Manager David Collins-worth said the contributions are for specific purposes such as providing the Rotary Club of Westerville with funding for Fourth of July fireworks.

"There are several others, including some funding that goes to the community symphony and the community band for the public concerts they put on for the community's benefit," he said. "Each of those you see in there correlate to some public good or public benefit that's being provided in exchange for some of that funding."

Davey asked that all but $35,000 from that fund be removed from city spending.

Among other items Davey asked to slash from the budget was $150,000 for the city's WeConnect Data Center, which he said should be abolished.

"We've spent almost $18 million on the data center to date, and it's only generated about $2 million in revenue," he said.

"I think it's time for it to either sustain itself or be sold to a private-sector company that can manage it a little bit better."

Davey also asked that nearly $2.4 million more in spending be cut from the budget, including $227,000 to acquire a Winter Street building scheduled for demolition to become additional Uptown parking.

He said he believes Uptown merchants should be responsible for their own parking and said he'd like the site to be sold to the public.

In all, he proposed nine amendments to the budget.

Council Chairman Craig Treneff said he was concerned Davey's proposed amendments would alter the integrity of the rest of the ordinance, and Westerville Director of Finance Lee Ann Shortland confirmed all the figures affect one another.

"These are interrelated; the funds are interrelated," she said. "One fund affects the other considerably.

"Ultimately, can we go in and take out particular line items as called out? We could. We'll have to regenerate the full budget to see the effect overall and decrease many line items within the different funds."

As a result, Treneff ruled Davey's amendments out-of-order, saying that they didn't make sense at the moment.

"Certainly, there are methods to present these amendments in the future, and I'm not trying to make things difficult for you," he told Davey.

"They simply need to be presented in such a way that the ordinance itself isn't harmed by the amendment, because these parts do interrelate."

Davey voted against the budget, which was adopted in a 6-1 vote.

Despite advice from staff, Davey later attempted to remove language in an annual ordinance that requires city employees to show proof of insurance if they declined the city's coverage.

"We're rewarding them for not taking health insurance with the opt-out payment," he said. "We shouldn't necessarily demand they have health insurance elsewhere or prove that they have health insurance elsewhere.

"That's their personal decision. Basically, we're rewarding them for saving us money. I'd prefer to leave it at that."

His motion died for lack of a second and he voted against the ordinance.

Longtime Councilman Mike Heyeck said although he understood Davey's thoughts, he didn't feel it was the appropriate time to take the actions he suggested.

"You haven't had the benefit of the three readings and work sessions prior to this," Heyeck said.

"My hesitation on your motions is because I don't know what it means. If I take out this money and it's interrelated to that money, I don't know what it means," Heyeck said.

"I'm willing to discuss this at a work session or whatever. But right now, if we take it out, we have no remedy to put it back in except coming in and having a meeting to put it back in."