Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monitor endorses 3 percent or higher tax increase ...

This morning, the Concord Monitor endorsed a 3 percent or higher tax increase for the city to balance its budget. The move is not surprising, considering that they are always advocating for new, higher taxes. But, it got me thinking. Can new savings be found inside the city budget, even though there is a deficit. Yes, indeed ...

First, as I wrote earlier when the new finance director was hired at top dollar, the city needs to readjust salary scales for vacant positions to bring them in line with what the salaries are for Concord residents or what they can get in a market that is full of unemployed people. In other words, there is a good opportunity for savings in the labor market. The city should be taking advantage of that. Savings: Unknown amount.

It truly is time to look at whether or not every single supervisor is needed in every department and try to find some savings in overlap. It amazes me that when looking at the police budget last year that there was a supervisor for the records dept. and a supervisor for the parking dept. Surely the departments could be combined and have one supervisor. Savings: $60,000, possibly more.

In looking at the registration, clerk, and assessing depts., there seems to be some overlap there. In addition, why can't there be job sharing so when there is a huge line in registration, employees who aren't doing anything in assessing or the clerk's office could be moved over to help residents get through that line more quickly? A new floor design for the three departments would be needed which would cost money. But it would be a productive change. Savings: Unknown, but if you had to spare one vacancy, about $40,000, possibly more.

Concord TV is over-staffed and has been for years. How many employees are there now, five? Six? There used to be three and before that there was one. It is time to slay this sacred cow already. Savings: $60,000 to $100,000.

Buying unneeded items in the middle of a near Depression, like all the new SUVs purchased for the police last year. How many other things are in the capital budget that could wait another year or two? Savings: at least $100,000, possibly more.

Just a few ideas to take seriously BEFORE raising taxes. And, what I see is more than a quarter of a million dollars in potential savings and the budget book isn't even out yet. That's 1 percent of the Monitor's proposed 3 percent tax increase! We're 33 percent there!! How much more can be found? Join in everyone!

No comments: