The headlines in last week’s newspaper talked about your perceived need to raise taxes due to the decreased property values on Marco Island. Instead of doing the easy thing and raise taxes, why don’t you do the right thing and cut expenses? The article in last week’s newspaper about LCEC not raising electric rates has clues about what you could do to demonstrate you really are sensitive to the needs of the people you serve. Why doesn’t the city implement these ideas that worked for LCEC:
• During a rigorous annual budgeting process, LCEC focused on controlling spending and contingency plans were made so that further spending reductions could be quickly implemented depending on the evolving economic environment.
• Budgeted capital expenditures were held at levels comparable with LCEC spending in 2004.
• During the first quarter of 2009, more than $2 million was trimmed from the LCEC expense budget.
• As a rule, vacant LCEC employee positions have not been filled.
• Nearly 10 percent of LCEC management positions were eliminated. Employees from within the organization took on additional responsibilities and cross-trained.
• All LCEC non-critical training and business travel was eliminated as was the company picnic and holiday event.
• Management and non-union employees were not awarded pay increases this year despite solid performance.
• LCEC made adjustments to employee schedules in an effort to reduce labor costs.
• Staggered shifts and work schedule adjustments were made when needed to reduce the cost of overtime pay.
I find it ironical that the City Council pursued the idea of taking over the electric service from LCEC which is obviously well run. Maybe we could send several of our city councilors, our city manager and our public works director to LCEC for some training ion how to run utilities and how to cut costs.