February 20, 2009

Public works budget aims for 2 percent hike

The city’s public works department is pushing for a 2 percent spending hike that would pump its annual budget to $13.1 million.

“I can almost assure you that it will come up lower,” Mayor Art Ward.

Two public works commissioners – city Councilor Mike Rimcoski and Morris Laviero – said they’d like to see deeper cuts that would do more to ease the burden on hard-pressed taxpayers.

“I’m a zero man,” Rimcoski said.

“Amen,” said city Councilor Craig Minor, who often clashes with Rimcoski over his refusal to shell out money for necessary government services and initiatives.

Ward said he tossed back the first public works spending plan because it came in a little over 2 percent.

“I couldn’t allow anything to go forward higher than that,” the mayor said.

But at least some officials said they are willing to go to bat to make sure public works gets the money it needs to operate effectively in caring for the city’s streets, municipal buildings, garbage and infrastructure.

“We’ll fight for the 2 percent,” city Councilor Kevin McCauley said.

McCauley said the city has “an aging fleet” of vehicles and some need replacement.

But Laviero said the city has a lot of costly equipment that it barely uses, including a $200,000 grader that’s broken down.

He said costly machines that are rarely used should be rented, not owned.

“That could be a big cut in the budget,” Laviero said.

Given the budget constraints and tight economy, he said, “We’re up against it. We can do without.”

Don Padlo, a longtime commissioner, said that whatever the merits of Laviero’s argument, the budget proposed for this year doesn’t ask for any equipment that isn’t needed immediately.

“We’ve got to have the fleet in decent shape,” Padlo said.

Public Works Director Walter Veselka said it would take $1.6 million annually to keep the fleet on a proper replacement schedule.

This budget has about $900,000 for new equipment.

Laviero said he is nervous about the economy, but sees it as a chance to improve efficiency and management.

“This is a great time to improve our department,” he said. “We just have to run a better ship.”

Veselka said the department is well-managed and that it is busy making improvements already.

“These times are forcing us to look at how we operate,” Ward said.


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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is not meant to be mean spirited and is just a question but since Kevin McCauley is a city employee shouldn't he be (or should he on his own be) excused from matters like a city budget? Isn't this a conflict of interest for him?

Anonymous said...

And Ward is the one that headed up the Public Works budget for many many years.

What a farce.

Get rid of all your buddies that you had hired and you'll save the taxpayer BIG BUCKS!

Concerned Conservative said...

Thank goodness for "zero-man" Mike Rimcoski. And shame on Kevin McCauley.

Anonymous said...

7:18 I agree. Yet another conflict of interest issue for the City. Same thing goes for hiring Andre Dorval as an Attorney to handle the land issue for the new school on Chippens....when he is already the Probate Judge in town. Zero Ethics!

Anonymous said...

When your streets aren't plowed; your trash isn't picked up and the entire infrastructure falls apart, then you will understand where Kevin is coming from,and no I don't think he has a conflict with anything but the Fire Department. There are definitely labor and productivity issues, mostly of Arty's making from his years as a councilman on the PW Committe, but he will never admit that. Look at the names of the employess and its like 7 shades of Kevin Bacon except a large number of them lead right back to Arty and to Frank. Anyone count how many assorted relatives they have on the city payroll? There is a story for you.

Anonymous said...

THis is how the city employee as public official game works. You promise not to cut the other guy's department, and the guy from the other department promises not to cut your department. This way they technically follow the rules, but in reality are violating the intention of the rules. So the fireman votes for the garbageman raise, and the garbageman votes for the fireman raise. Multiply that by all the departments.

Anonymous said...

They are notcutting costs,just deferring then?

They are Obamaizing us!!!!

Anonymous said...

Andre Dorval does not have a conflict because he is Probate Judge - the real conflict would be Eddie Krawiecki whispering in his ear since they are partners.

Anonymous said...

Garbagemen don't vote on fireman contracts or vice versa. They have completely different issues too, so I am not sure how much this argument makes sense.

Concerned Conservative said...

"When your streets aren't plowed; your trash isn't picked up and the entire infrastructure falls apart, then you will understand where Kevin is coming from..."

-This is the usual mantra we get from the public employees and their supporters when they don't get what they want.

-I must tell you Mr./Mrs. Public Employee, neither the world nor our economic system revolves around you. When free enterprise suffers, you must suffer with it. Because free-enterprise is the engine of this country not the government.

-Government must be there to support capitalism and free enterprise, not hinder it (with taxation). If /when it does (actually it may be starting to now), it must be changed. Hopfully with the mid-term Congressional election in 2010, it will.

Anonymous said...

Kevin's point has always been that it costs less to do it right the first time then to go back and pay catch-up. The abilities of the actual employees doing the work is another issue altoghether.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

-I must tell you Mr./Mrs. Public Employee, neither the world nor our economic system revolves around you. When free enterprise suffers, you must suffer with it. Because free-enterprise is the engine of this country not the government.

Cause it's working so great right now?

-Government must be there to support capitalism and free enterprise, not hinder it (with taxation). If /when it does (actually it may be starting to now), it must be changed. Hopfully with the mid-term Congressional election in 2010, it will.

And of course nothing says support for capitalism more than bailouts that get blown on things like golden parachutes.

Public services are public for a reason. When they are owned by the public they don't become the privy of a special interest (your own biases aside).

They are also public because before they became public they were private! And shockingly when it was private those services didn't work too well.

And guess what. They still don't work too well when privatized. Just ask Jimmy Galante.

Concerned Conservative said...

"Public services are public for a reason. When they are owned by the public they don't become the privy of a special interest"

-This comment is to ignorant anf naive it's not even worth responding to. All I can say if these services were privatized it would ELIMINATE the powerful special interests that are bankrupting this state.

"And of course nothing says support for capitalism more than bailouts..."

-There is no doubt that with out unfair (to business) labor laws GM wouldn't be facing the problems they have today and without pressure from liberal special intersts the US would never have had a sub-priime mortgage crisis.

pray said...

2:22 - sure, forget the fact of weather the money is there to support it - hope that you aren't on the finance board.

Anonymous said...

What Laverio means is :Hire Laverio Construction instead of having the city do the work".

Does he have a conflict or what?