FROM A CONCERNED CITIZEN:
Before moving on to correct the current situation questions need to be answered.
MY COMMENTS - BETT:
The fund balance should never have been allowed to dip so low and should be beefed up ASAP. There should be more revenue now that property values are inching up if that is not enough a raise in the millage rate might be the way to go, perhaps with a provision that it will only be until we get a fatter fund balance, a raise will anger some but may be the only way to go.
I think Hugh Dunkley our Director of Finance is very aware of what needs to be done and the commission should listen to him more and worry about reelection less. There are lots of things the city needs that cost money but should be put on the back burner until the balance is large enough so we have enough for hurricane damage etc.
It is hard to justify taxpayers paying more if the city pay scale is out of whack, I don’t know if it is, but needs to be addressed every year, when I was president of our teacher’s union we adjusted the pay scale every year, many years the teachers at the top of the guide got very little increase, if anything.
I also don’t know if we are top heavy in top administration, but a serious look at that should be done. Perhaps we should look at saving money by outsourcing some departments, landscaping for example, would it be cheaper? We should take a serious look at that department and others. Most likely it would save money as we would save pension and medical costs and perhaps get better service as the company would know they would be let go if they didn’t perform up to snuff. We are not an employment agency for city residents, but I suppose the city could make a provision that our workers would be hired by the outside agency.
I believe that taking the fire department back would be next to impossible, but if an actuary could prove that it would save money it should be looked at. I don’t think so but who knows. I have many questions about that. What would happen to the extra fire station out west? Would the city have to be stuck with the same pension provisions? As a teacher I did other jobs for the district for which I was paid a stipend, and coaches etc. make extra money, but NONE of that extra money went toward our pension basis, and I do not believe overtime etc. should be included.
The City Attorney's opinion was that we didn’t need a referendum, but I would have liked to see one, I am not sure the residents would have voted no, as they did in the past, as this change was presented with the rosy outlook of saving millions and millions each year, how is that working out? But the voters should be heard on items such as these.