What’s wrong with asking the city manager to propose additional budget cuts?
Your headline in the Sunday edition, “City budget cuts don’t please all.” As one of the individuals mentioned in the article suggesting the City Council take a closer look at the budget, I would like to respond as follows:
-- An analysis of non-personnel budget categories in the proposed fiscal 2010 budget approximates 2.6 million dollars.
-- Categories such as travel/per diem up 47 percent, publications/memberships up 40 percent and training up 24 percent do not suggest fiscal constraint.
-- Information provided to the Collier County Government Productivity Committee suggest ad valorem real estate tax revenue will decrease approximately 15-20 percent more in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years.
For the past 18 months (long before any “political correctness as Mr. Stefanides suggests) I have been working identifying areas that the city should review to save money not only for this fiscal year, but also for the future. The vast majority of these suggestions have been dismissed by the city staff for various reasons.
I want to make some additional thoughts clear. I also believe the city staff is not bloated as some of our neighbor cities, but that statement should not preclude what every professional manager does when asked to reduce expenses. An ongoing review of all areas of expense should be continually undertaken and options provided to the City Council for their policy-making decisions.
Second, you will note I have not talked about any personnel related reductions, although some may be possible. I believe our life safety functions should remain intact, but options to maintain our existing service levels with possibilities for additional saving should also be proposed.
The economic hardship we are all facing is not going to go away quickly and we should do the work now to soften the consequences of additional revenue shortfalls ahead.