Mayor Bill Foster is trying to drum up support for a millage increase. Before we do that let's take a look at some possible budget reduction opportunities.
Here are four specific budget cut suggestions:
The Business Assistance Services Department
The 2012 budget is $880,000. Eliminate Business Assistance completely and pass responsibility to the Chamber of Commerce.
The Economic Development Department
The 2012 budget is $684,000. Eliminate Economic Development completely and pass responsibility to Chamber of Commerce or a citizens committee.
If you look at the detailed budget for the engineering department, you will see millions of dollars in salaries and other costs offset by something called "Burden Capital Costs".
This approach is a clever way of hiding costs in an over-bloated, less than effective department by getting the revenue from capital projects. It just shifts the cost from one bucket to another.
Let's get $750,000 to $1 million out of the Engineering department by reducing staff and cutting costs.
Trust me as one who has been a recipient of their services, no one will miss what's cut and we can outsource what may be needed.
The Police Communications Center
The 2012 budget is about $ 6.8 Million. Outsource this effort to Sheriff, eliminate one assistant chief, put the remaining civilians under the Police Chief's office.
Conservative estimates of the actual annual savings would be $2.75 to $3.25 million.
Using the conservative numbers, right there in four city departments, is over $5 million dollars in savings or almost half of the short fall. Look, we have not touched a library, park, pool or other amenity. In fact we have probably improved service to the organization and the public in several areas.
There is more to be found, a lot more.
These must be genuine budget cuts where the people are removed from the payroll and costs eliminated. No changing titles, no shuffling around, no cutting unfilled positions, real cuts that produce real recurring savings.
These are tough decisions and they require courage and leadership, things that are in short supply at City Hall.
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