Sunday, March 15, 2009

The recurring comment is "cut spending"

I was knocking on doors this weekend asking for input on the budget.

Responses fell in three basic categories:

1) cut spending dramatically and cut taxes too
2) cut spending a lot and don't increase taxes
3) cut spending a bit and raise taxes a bit

Residents definitely left me with the impression that they're more concerned about increases in taxes and spending this year than in years past.

My biggest concern with this year's budget remains the unknown state funding. And my guess is that while the Council must vote by the Charter deadline of April 17, the legislature won't even begin discussing the budget in a serious way until after 2008 state income tax receipts are well on their way to full collection on April 15.

Tim White


Charley said...

Hey Tim,
Here's my 2 cents on the issue....
which is all the tax increase I can afford...Cut SPENDING and TAXES...big time!

Anonymous said...

TM says he is "happy" with the Budget as "there are no layoffs and it preserves services". Doesn't make me happy....I would liek to see him cut the bejesus out of everything..start with the 150-`160+ vehicles we have--get rid of 30 of them...eliminate scheduled OT--ensure Town buildings heat and electrical are shut down at night & on weekends....there are hundreds of things teh TM can do to reduce spending...

Anonymous said...

Cut all overtime.

Cut out all conferences/junkets and travel, especially on the education side.

Postpone equipment and software replacements.

Eliminate all take home vehicles except for those individuals who live in town and who actually are required to be on-call to cover emergencies.

Cut 4.3% of the school staff for each of the next 3 years. If the teacher's union doesn't want to give up 'the raises then the money should be makes up by staff cuts.

Merge sections and departments to provide greater flexibility and increased effectivenes.

Outsouce wherever possible.

Increase class sizes in the high school where the course is basic.
When they get to college the students will be used to large classes that cover things like Economics 101, American history etc.

Hire a consultant to review our entire education system to determine how to make it more cost effective and if outsourcing could make it more cost effective.

Eliminate all capital spending that is not essential and thereby reduce borrowing and interest.

Have the Town Manager develop a 5 year spending plan that does not depend on onetime revenue gains of that requires proping up with rainy day funds.

Eliminate all non-bid contracts.

Provide monitary reward for town employees for suggested savings.

It is imperative that the town realise thatfuture real increases in the grand list will be negligible and that increased spending will not be offset by real growth of taxable property. Significant increases in the grand list will be coming by reevaluating same existing properties and only if the values go up. On the other hand, future evaluations could result in a lower grand list and that would be a bit awkward for Town Manager.

Anonymous said...

Cutting out teachers wont do anything but degrade the quality of education. Much the same way corporations make huge mistakes when they layoff customer facing employees. so will the town leanr if they start dumping teacher.....

Rob DeVylder Jr. said...

"Postpone equipment and software replacements."
-Depends on what equipment and software it is. We do not need another backhoe, but computer aided dispatch and safety equipment for the police should still be considered.

"Merge sections and departments to provide greater flexibility and increased effectivenes."
- I agree with this. Park and Rec and Public Works basicly do the same job. We can eliminate a director and some staff. Do we really need 1 person tending to a parklette for a week at a time?

"Outsouce wherever possible."
- Only saves when the personel are already removed. Until that happens, it is doubling the cost with no savings. Better yet, we should look at doing jobs inhouse instead as long as we already have the qualified workers.

"Hire a consultant to review our entire education system to determine how to make it more cost effective and if outsourcing could make it more cost effective."
- Havent we already wasted enough money with experts and consultants?

"Provide monitary reward for town employees for suggested savings."
- How about letting them keep their jobs? That is a monitary reward. If they do their jobs efficiently and without needing OT then they should get paid. If they waste time with extra breaks, abusing sick time, submitting petty or worthless comp claims and grievences should be rewarded with time off... perminently.

"ensure Town buildings heat and electrical are shut down at night & on weekends"
- Heat should be lowered, not turned off. It costs more and takes longer to heat a cold room than to simply lower the temp a few degrees. Have we seen a saving with these auto-lights that were installed all over town?

"Eliminate all non-bid contracts."
-We should also be like every other town in the state and make all RFPs public by posting them in the local paper. The town should also add to the website a listing of all contractors that won bids with the town and when the bids expire. This should go for the town as well as the board of education.

Like others have said, there are many places to cut spending without raising taxes. One thought that I hear from people alot lately is that department heads will fight for more employees so they can get raises for supervising more workers.

We should have our town attorney fight the state for the money that is owed to the town in the PILOT program. If they do not want to pay for the land that the prison is on, shut off our water and sewers to them. See how fast that check arrives.