The time has come when our City Council should or should have stated “There will be no tax increase.” City staff should or should have prepared a budget that requires no tax increases. Period.
Let us ask the questions that our City Council should be asking, namely:
1. With building severely reduced on this island, how come we still have four (4) building officials? Each building official or inspector should be certified in all aspects of building inspection. It seems that at this time this staff could be reduced to just one inspector. Ask the questions!
2. This island has six (6) square miles to be patrolled by police. We don’t have rough terrain nor long roads for high speed car chases. Why do we need SUV’s or expensive patrol cars? There are many more cost effective and much cheaper options available. Ask the questions!
3. I see staff supervisors from various departments including the building officials and fire department driving SUV’s, why? Ask the questions!
4. I have been living here on the island now 21 years. I remember when this city bought the water utility to keep costs down. The cost at that time was about $3 per 1000 gallons. Now, when you include the base charge my cost is about $8 per 1000 gallons. A very unwise and expensive acquisition for this city. I’m looking at every little place to save money and city council should do the same. Probably not a big money saver but why do we need multi color statements? The charges on the statement are colorful by themselves. Ask the questions!
5. Now let’s go to capital projects. I looked at the seawall at the water treatment plant. I’m not a civil engineer but it looked OK and can wait a few more years. More than a 1000 residents have told our City Council they don’t want or need the Mackle Park Community Center expansion. Parks and Recreation and City Council keep bringing this up for consideration and funding. Question: Are you proposing these and other capital projects to keep our staff and employees busy? If we didn’t have these projects ongoing, would we save money by a) not funding these capital projects and b) reduce staff to manage and inspect these projects. Ask some questions! Don’t accept everything staff, management, and consultants tell you. Question things!
In conclusion, here is the most important thing. Look around, see and listen to your residents. Look at the economy, look at island surveys, see what’s happening on this island and listen to the residents when they respond to various surveys.