Here's the letter from Mayor Art Ward to taxpayers that's going out with the city's property tax bills this month:
As residents and taxpayers, we are all aware of the present economic conditions nationally, statewide and locally. The effect of these conditions has a direct impact on the ability of City government to deliver the same degree of services to the taxpayer as have been rendered in the past. Accordingly, this administration has attempted to address this obligation in a responsible manner and with the best interests of the community at hand.
In addition to just completing property revaluation, both you individually, along with City government, have also incurred increased costs associated with energy, food, health care and numerous other essentials of everyday life. We have tried to consider all of these factors in adopting this year’s budget and will steadfastly attempt to control all municipal spending. Additionally, we will monitor all costs in order to ease the tax burden for each of us for the next fiscal year.
In order to accomplish this task, I have asked Department Heads for their suggestions to reduce costs and promote efficiencies throughout City Hall. I have also placed suggestion boxes for employees to submit their thoughts about implementing cost savings. I anticipate through these suggestions, some of which have already taken effect, the City will find some creative and cost effective ways to provide services you are accustomed to receiving. Furthermore, I have issued a directive that overtime must be approved by me unless it relates directly to the safety of the citizens of Bristol.
On a more positive note, the City financials continue to be strong. Our reserve fund is healthy, our outstanding debt is modest, and our tax collection rates continue to be strong. Future tax collections may be impacted by the downturn in the economy, but I have no doubt, through strong management, increased efficiencies and cost reductions, we will prevail through these difficult times.
Mayor Arthur J. Ward
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org