October 20, 2008

Ward paring budget where he can

Though Mayor Art promises hard choices on the city budget in the days ahead, the steps taken so far are likely to attract little attention.

Perhaps the most visible money-saving step so far is that police officers are occasionally doubling up in a single cruiser to save the cost of putting each of them in a separate car.

Mayor Art Ward said that he is wading through a lengthy series of possible budget cuts submitted last week by city department heads – each was told to list at least 10 approved items that could be trimmed – but hasn’t acted on them yet.

He called it “an onoing process that’s being addressed on a daily basis.”

But some ideas are clearly contemplated since Ward said he plans to meet with municipal unions in the next few weeks to see if changes can be made that might run afoul of existing agreements.

Ward said the city is trying to hold the line on its $172 million budget in part to ensure that next year’s spending plan doesn’t send taxpayers reeling.

Ward said that he’s already clamped down on sending city workers to many seminars and conferences – generally allowing only those required for certification and accreditation.

He said that public works is trying to consolidate its trucks’ trips by, for example, picking up bulk waste from nearby residents on the same day.

In addition, the city has some positions that have been left deliberately empty to save money, the mayor said.

Ward said he’s also aiming to cut down on fuel use, though he said he discovered recently that comparing the use month to month only looked good until he pulled out the reports from a year earlier and found the city is using “significantly more” fuel now.

“I wasn’t happy,” Ward added.
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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't vote for him but I have to give him credit, at least he is being proactive and isn't waiting til next year to realize our, like every other place in the country, financial plight.

Anonymous said...

How about a spending freeze for next year?

Anonymous said...

Kudos Mayor Ward!

Anonymous said...

He was given a heads up last Novemnber: how come he is just starting now?

jerry said...

how about some layoffs of some city folks to save money like other cities are doing.

Anonymous said...

There is a ton more he can do...Lets see if he does it!

Anonymous said...

Ward is micro=managing!!

Let the department heads make the cuts in conjunction with the boards and BOF.

Why do we have professionals???

Anonymous said...

Artie won't lay off anyone, he wants to kep his high paying job.

And the BOF will go along with him because they are a bunch of lackeys.

Anonymous said...

all of this and not one realistic, responsible suggestion to address the problems which we face - i don't know the answers but at least ward is trying - give it a shot. it might even work.

Anonymous said...

I think Mayor Ward should take the time & look around in City hall and see all the abuse some of his people are taking advantage of. I know of several employees who come and go as they want. I see police cars parked next to each other just shooting the sh t. Wish I could get a job at city hall and become Arties pet.

Anonymous said...

A few simple ideas........
1) Shut off unnecessary street lights
2) Offer unpaid time off to employees, i.e., 1 day off bi-weekly, monthly
3) Offer employees the chance to "buy" additional vacation time
4) Have employees in different departments share the workload. Example: Have the firemen do maintenance work on public vehicles and properties. If they can do the physical work of fighting fires they can do general maintenance work in between calls.
5) Advertise work that needs to be done around town & ask for the publics help.
6) Have school kids work on maintenance of public properties as part of their school credits. It will teach them life skills and respect for property.
7) Make it mandatory that anyone receiving public assistance contribute to the town via volunteer work (excluding those that can't due to a physical condition backed up by a doctor's certificate). This has the added benefit of sending a clear message that Bristol doesn't provide free handouts. That will run some free loaders out of town.

Anonymous said...

vacant positions is a good start, but the rumor on the street is that he has already promised the unions no layoffs. How about asking him that question directly, Stevo? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe someone is actually giving the mayor of the 10th largest kudos for now realizing that there may be less state aid coming this year. Duh!! I would be more impressed if I didn't have a sneaking suspicions that his main goal here is to not raise taxes four months before the November election next year. Voters don't like that stuff.

Anonymous said...

The easiest, but least politically popular move would be to cut jobs. There is plenty of dead wood at city hall. If he cuts jobs, the union won't support him but he just might earn the vote of residents.
Do an efficiency study and make people record what they do all day. Offer early retirement incentives. Salaries are a huge part of the budget!

Anonymous said...

yep i want to see my local firemen cutting grass at muzzyfield.

Anonymous said...

"Sneaking suspicions", "rumor on the street"....ahhh, sounds like the anti-Ward crowd are spinning their wheels again....

Anonymous said...

refer back to 10:09pm and offer up realistic suggestions

Anonymous said...

11:37pm - highly unlikely that you could have anything other than "sneaky suspicions" otherwise you wouldn't have anything to post anonymously on this site - sneak.

Anonymous said...

10:52 While I don't agree with all of your suggestions I think #7 should be made mandatory not just in Bristol but state wide.

Anonymous said...

what a bunch of BULL!! This is the same Mayor who wouldn't hold taxes and raised them. Now he's worried about the budget.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if it is reasonable to have firemen doing maintenance type work, but I could see them directing traffic sometimes. For example with all the work that was and maybe still is being done by Edgewood School. Instead of using a police officer, they are right on the corner.

This is just an idea before anyone attacks me - you know kind of like Brainstorming - there is no stupid ideas.

Anonymous said...

9:38am - after your posting, I guess that we can't say that there aren't any stupid ideas anymore.

Anonymous said...

9:38 poster,

Come on! How can you possibly think about disturbing our precious firemen. MacCauly would never allow that!

Tim Gamache said...

As long as it's not "your" job,right 6:05AM?Everytime anyone proposes layoffs,they ALWAYS mean anyones'job but their OWN!Just how are these laid off workers supposed to take care of THEIR families?Doesn't matter,not YOUR children,right?

former GOP activist said...

This is good policy, except the Mayor should do this ALL the time not just in times of fiscal "crisis".

Anonymous said...

The average city worker does about 20 hours of work per full work week.

Anonymous said...

Great attempt by Ward. I have to give him respect for trying. I wish he was consistently monitoring the budget and ways to save though.

How would you rate our previous mayors? Ward, Stortz, Nicastro, Leone, Warner....

I would have to say we were best under Mayor Frank, as tough as it is to admit.

Anonymous said...

Nicastro hands down.

Anonymous said...

Be careful what you're saying, Nicastro might crawl out of the woodwork, we already know Stortz is chomping at the bit.

The egos of guys like them are huge. I'm okay with Ward right now. I'm reserving the right to change my mind though. We'll see what the next year holds.

Anonymous said...

2:22 - way to go Frank.
if you won't pat yourself on the back, nobody else will, right?

Anonymous said...

Please no more relics from the past. I am begging. Somebody new please. No Stortz, no Nicastro, No Couture.

Anonymous said...

I would take Nicastro again. He kept taxes down, which is more then the others are or were willing to do.

Anonymous said...

Nicastro kept taxes down alright....and we're still paying for it. He should stick to blowing his horn (which he does whenever he gets a chance!).

Anonymous said...

3 terms in office = more experince and better credentials than most. He left office on top. I would take him back too.

Steve Collins said...

Five consecutive terms for Frank. Plus three on the council before that. Plus two on the council since then.

Anonymous said...

10:52...how will you decide what street lights to turn off? How about the one in front of your grammy's house or your house, or the house of someone with a disability. Point is, it is not a simple idea. Many towns have tried it and gotten mired in citizen protest...sort of a "not in my backyard thing".

Lay off the over paid ,city worker who does nothing (alot of those sleping around)

Anonymous said...

Mayor Frank reminded me of Mayor Mike from Hartford. He was always so positve.

Anonymous said...

Don't insult Mayor Mike

Anonymous said...

glad to hear that mayor mike is doing well

Anonymous said...

frank fans should be looking at all of the money being spent to fix up the city parks which were ignored when frank was mayor

Anonymous said...

And the roads too!

Anonymous said...

Doubling up on police officers in cars is FALSE ECONOMY.

Coverage is reduced, and how long will it be before that becomes standard practise????

Anonymous said...

Ward wants to cut costs but approves the use of city computers for personal use on city time.

And has been more liberal with the use of city vehicles.

That is cutting costs?