By Vanessa Dominguez
The Citizen Budget Advisory Committee was formed in the past spring and was asked to prioritize city services based off of budget figures. The committee consists of eight members designated to review the city’s budget and make recommendations for improvement.
The committee used a four level system to rate city services on their importance and necessity.
1- keep the service
2-review the service
3-reduce the service
4-eliminate the service
The committee rated most services as either a 2 or 3 meaning those services should be reviewed and/or reduced. Committee chairman Jason Sylvester stated, “Given the economic recession…there is no opportunity to not balance the budget”.
The committee also recommended that the city continue the current hiring freeze and restrict salary increases. They also stated that it may be necessary to eliminate 50 full time city positions. That would equal 6% of entire city staff and would eliminate the $2.5 million projected shortfall.
The committee also suggested areas where additional revenue should be generated. It was suggested that the city review services or events that could be eliminated or run by private groups. An example would be The Arts Picnic. The goal would be that Arts Picnic would be a self supporting activity instead of city supported. Other suggestions were: the historic preservation in the city be privatized, eliminate transit and leisure services, and combine committees.
“I think your recommendations are very interesting” Mayor Norton said. There are differences in where we start and where we stop. Norton said if Amendments 60,60, 101 pass the city may get to a point where have to lay people off. Norton went on to state that part of that $2.5 million has been reduced but if 60,60,101 pass we would be closer to a shortfall of 5 million. “Privitazation of leisure is always a good thing.” said Norton. He agreed that The Arts Picnic should become independent, he said that local groups could take over some events. If the event is valued, The Downtown Development Authority and other groups may want to take over.
The committee will come up with a more detailed plan and present to council.
Tags: Arts Picnic, budget, Citizen Budget Advisory Committee, Food Tax, Grove, information, Island Grove, Jason Sylvester, problem, rate, right, self, something, story, tax, technology, time, UCCC, use, year