December 1, 2008

Stortz weighs in on budget and the economy

Former Mayor Bill Stortz posted this comment on a thread that many might miss so I'm reposting it here:

It is somewhat surprising AND disappointing that it has taken this long for the city to point out that we are in a tough economic situation here in Bristol. Also, it is disappointing that we are not given a clearer picture of where we are and what potentially lies ahead. 

The city was given an early on warning that the economic situation was at best questionable and should be monitored.

In October 2007 (yes, over a year ago), after getting feedback that I requested from several department heads, as Mayor, I sent a memo to the Board of 
Finance and the then City Council, suggesting that things did not look good, and steps should be considered that would hopefully minimize the need for more drastic steps at a later date.

Her is a copy of that letter.

To: Board of Finance
From: William T. Stortz
Date: October 23, 2007

Sub: Budget concerns

As you are aware, there has been some interesting activity in the economy in recent weeks.

The issue of sub prime mortgages, and resulting foreclosures, the acting of the Federal Reserve Board and interest rate changes, the rising price of oil, all can affect our budget, the current one and next year’s also. 

With that in mind, I have asked some departments to document their thoughts in this regard. Granted theses are somewhat subjective, and they were not asked to do extensive research, but only to provide some basic thoughts and awareness. 

I have included these reports for your review and consideration.

Keep in mind that some costs have increased, and we will be over budget because of that. Fuel oil and heating oil are good examples. This could cut into our contingency account, or at least affect these departments that budget for fuel and./or heating fuel.

While the conveyance tax make still make budget, keep in mind that the past years showed a surplus in this account, which affects other items that were over budget.

Also, last years interest income exceeded budget. This was taken into consideration in developing the budget, but with interest rate changes, this account could be affected even more. This account also was over budget last year and provided us with a buffer also; we may draw down money short term to meet Mall needs which could reduce interest even more.

Tax collection also might be affected.

Due to the efforts of the Tax Collector, over the past few years we have realized increased results in back tax collection.

Because of this, the amount left to be collected has been reduced, and has become more difficult.

At the same time, current foreclosures might delay some collection to subsequent budget years.

We will virtually always get our money, but the back tax amount may increase for the short term.

Vehicle tax collection may also be affected. In some cases we may lose the taxes altogether, as vehicle tax collection is difficult if cars are not reregistered.

While the situation is not dire yet, it is more problematical than it was 6-8 months ago, and there is no consensus that it will recover overnight.

Now is the time to take these factors into consideration, and see what can be done to evaluate the impact, as well as to see where current expenditures can be reduced or better controlled. Small changes made early on can educe the need for drastic changes in the latter part of the budget year.

cc City council

Encl.

(End of letter)

I am aware that that some steps are now being taken. Based on what I have read, I wonder if they are/and will be enough to avoid a huge tax increase or drastic cuts in service. Certainly there are many ideas that people, including myself, have that might help, and I did offer, and it would behoove this administration to take advantage of those resources so that we experience minimal impact.

Bristol is a good city, with good people, and working together, we can and will work through this situation. But it will best done utilizing the efforts and help of many, not just a few. 

I have submitted a follow up letter to the media, but it is equally lengthy and probably will not get printed. If so, it will be submitted to this blog.


*******
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this the opening volly from the Stortz for Mayor 09 committee?

Anonymous said...

great, his own party wouldn't endorse him for another term, he has been in seclusion for over a year and now the tentacles are being extended?
who wrote the letter for him?

Solomon said...

I don't think so

Anonymous said...

He better run as an Independent. I don't see the Republicans endorsing him at all.

Steve Collins said...

Remember that in 2003, the GOP endorsed an unknown businessman for mayor. Stortz whipped him in a primary.
He is clearly more popular with the rank and file Republicans than he is with the party's leadership. And he knows it.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about him, he doesn't need anyone to write his letters for him.

Unlike other mayors!

Anonymous said...

8:41

Check Steves files. I do belive stortz said it wouldn't be right to second guess his successor right away.
Maybe steve can pull it up.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Bill Stortz.

Hurricane said...

The way I see it is that the October 2007 letter was portentuous and accurate.

That tells me something.

He sure was ahead of the curve.

The Sundance Kid said...

Maybe the Republicans wouldn't endorse him, but if I remember coreectly, in 2005, THEY asked him to run after their endorsed nominee dropped out at the last minute.and he whomped Couture in just about every district.

Frankly, I don't know why he would want to run.

Poboy said...

I don't know why Mr. Stortz is so concerned. The board of Ed is spending like drunken sailors on land, old buildings, fees for useless class action suits (no money for special ed or teachers salaries though.I wonder who will staff the new schools)Board of ed didn't even bother applying for state assistance for a new roof on MBS, they paid the whole thing with city funds. Frank Johnson's mall committee keeps spending its monthly nut with no complaints. Plenty of dough for architects to design a theater. The city coffers must be overflowing.

Cinderella said...

Maybe it is bercause he truly cares about Bristol.

Anonymous said...

Can we please set the record straight here. In the last election, The Bristol Republican Town Committee kept asking Bill if he was going to run and he kept putting them off. He even stopped coming to BRTC meetings and so they went ahead and endorsed Ken Johnson.

And, yes this sounds like a person getting ready to run for Mayor in 09 and an arm chair or a Monday morning quarterback.

Besides his letter in 2007 what else did he do to address his concerns when he was Mayor. He did not cut the budget or spending. Did he?

concerned conservative said...

Although I hoped Stortz would have sought re-election in 2007, I believe he intentionally tried to discredit Ken Johnson during the 2007 campaign. Perhaps he was successful enough to cost Johnson the 160 or so votes Johnson needed to beat Ward?

What Stortz, who declined to run in 2007, is doing now is a mystery. Perhaps he is mulling a run in 2009 or just offering his wisdom/commentary? It's odd that after being critical of Johnson in 2007, he is publicy criticising Ward today. Perhaps he has lost his mind? Whatever the reason I see no way that either Stortz or Johnson can beat Ward in 2009. And especially as far as Ken Johnson is concerned, that's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

What's the point Bill? You wrote a letter but never did anything. In fact, you were/are known for your indecisiveness and lack of action when you were last in office. It's easy to be an arm chair quarterback isn't it? Too bad you didn't do more while you sat in the Big Chair.

Anonymous said...

As a city worker, I know that Stortz was responsible for significant cuts. Check the OT especially. That did not make him popular with some employees, but he did keep the costs down.

He knew the budget as well as anybody and did make some meaningful chamges.

Anonymous said...

2:55

Look at the letter again.
Mortgages became a major topic in August, Stortz queried the dept hds in September, and wrote to the BOF and the Council in Oct.

If he tried to do anything in October, both candidates would have bitched. Besides, the impact wasn't felt yet, but he did suggest monitoring what was happening.

Face it, he was right, but the current administration didn't follow up.
I think that he is trying to point out that the impact could have been minimized if action was taken earlier.
Ironically, we still haven't gotten any details as to wheer ae are right now.

Anonymous said...

Heck, the way things are looking at the press, we may never know any details. That sucks.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone start screaming about Stortz wanting to run for mayor? Take the letter for what it is. Stortz warned other city leaders about the failing economy. He took some measures to curb spending. The council (previous or current, Ward included) could have done even more, with that letter as a little push. But even today, the city leaders are talking about spending for new schools. Hello?

As far as running for the mayor's seat, Stortz has been there and done that. It's not likely, but if he wants to do it again, so what? We have some bigger issues right now. We're in a recession.

Stortz in 2009 said...

trifecta for Stortz?

stortz troopin' said...

Go Bill Stortz, go Bill Stortz, go Bill Stortz GO!


Anyone but Ken Johnson in 2009!

Anonymous said...

10:22

OPERATIVE WORD: IF

They asked him IF he was going to run, not TO run, at least as I read it.
Remember, Johnson announced back in March or so,and both Schaffrick and Mocabee (two losers) egged him on.

Yes, Johnson lost by a relatively small amount, but keep in mind, HE, Johnson, was the reason that we don't have a Republican mayor (Stortz) now, and maybe 3 councilman.

Say what you want, Stortz won elections the others didn't!

He runs again, I work for him.

Anonymous said...

December 2, 2008 8:37 PM aka Bill (ha ha):

Go work for who ever you want. One thing you're right about is the "losers". But you forgot to mention a few others as well. What about their fearless leader? Doesn't he send chills down your spine?

Get ready for an autumn surprise Bristol RINOs!

High Noon said...

Latest reports are that the recession started in December.
Stortz gave his heads up in October.

Wasn't too far off, was he?

Where were everyone else?

Anonymous said...

Stortz is bright but has no ability to make decisions or work with people. He has no concept of compromise. He expects people to ask him to run, to pay his way and then he ignores those people after he gets his way. I hope the Republicans tell him to go away...for good..they will be doing all of us a BIG favor.

And for the record...Stortz was intimatly involved in the slate building exercise the BRTC went through in 2007. He didn't like anyone who expressed interest in running and alienated them. That is NOT how to build a ticket. The RTC had a choice...run Stortz and nobody for council or run the ticket they had with Johnson. 8:27 blogger is full of crap... (probably Bill himself)

Anonymous said...

There was no crystal ball necessary to see that we were headed for a recession....Stortz was just stating the obvious. He couldn't stop it from coming and neither can Ward. The entire country is in an economic downward spiral. It seems that there's not much anyone can do to stop it. :-(

Anonymous said...

If we can't stop the recession, we might as well build new schools and put ourselves into more debt.

Shane said...

We can't stop the recession, but we can, and should have, taken steps early on to minimize the local impact.

That is what I read in his kletter to the Finance Board.

Didn't seem to happen.

Earl Taylor said...

To 7:02

I notice that Stortz uses his name and you don't.

Any explanation as to why YOU are hiding?

Down with the Bristol RINOs said...

December 3, 2008 7:02 AM:

You're a little full of crap yourself. By slate you must mean the municipal elections not the town committee. The town committee held elections (albeit the joke that they were) in 2006 and 2008.

The "slate" for municipal candidates was put together by Ken Johnson and other assorted members currently on the TC.

Zephyr said...

7:02

You sound like one of the two Bristol Republican LOSS LEADERS (Mocabeee/Schaffrick)!

Based on who you ran, I would not have wanted most of them on my ticket either.

And, we know the Rimcoski would have run with Stortz, so even in that case, you would have had at least two on the Council, and one would have been MAYOR.

Looks like you are working overtime to demonize stortz. Why not work on somethinig constructive?

Anonymous said...

There is that Ken Johnson again: only out for himself, and not Bristol.

What a shame!

Anonymous said...

Frank Johnson once said that he Republicans tend to eat their young.

Well, I say that they are like eskimos too: they put their elders in a raft and push them out to sea.

It is no wonder that they are not a factor here in Bristol.

Vinny Lombardo said...

Stortz brought up a legitimate issue, and now the Republicans are making him the issue.

Not a smart political move for them if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Bill Stortz is a smart guy, and was right on the money over a year ago. When are the current city officials going to catch on?

Julius C. said...

What do you expect from Schaffric, Mocabee and Johnson?

Anonymous said...

"We can't stop the recession, but we can, and should have, taken steps early on to minimize the local impact."

Any steps we could'a, should'a, would'a made would be a like slapping a band-aid on a huge festering wound. The recession is quickly heading for a depression. There's not much anyone could do.

A. Hamilton said...

Steve, any feedback from the city on just where we are, or doesn't Kloko know?