The Bristol Blog features news and information about Bristol, Connecticut.
April 10, 2009
Stortz offers budget suggestions
Letter from former Mayor William Stortz:
Bristol, like most other cities, and most states, is facing a difficult budgetary process. While expenses generally increase, the current process is made more difficult by the overall economic situation, resulting in reduced revenues in various areas. With that in mind, adjustments have to be made in order to mitigate a possible tax increase, especially one of any magnitude. But the budget has to be a responsible one, assuring that basic services are still met, and that the burden is not just shifted to the future. While the city may tap into the “Rainy Day Fund”, that cannot go on year by year, and plans must be put in place to replenish it. The Mayor has indicated that he does not support layoffs, which limits the potential for savings. Therefore the city must look to savings in other areas. There is no silver bullet, savings must be achieved in whatever amounts are possible. If the city has done any cost cutting, it doesn’t seem to have been made public. With that in mind, I am offering just a few suggestions which hopefully will be considered, and maybe bring about additional ideas. Reduce the street lighting on the far end of James p. Casey Road, and eliminate one set of streetlights on North Main Street. Evaluate all light timers at parks and elsewhere to ascertain that they are functioning in the most effective manner. Eliminate the part time LEPC position, put it in the Fire Department. Eliminate the Emergency Management position, put it in the Police Department. Would save money and provide continuity. Review Cash flow to maximize investment return. Go to bi-weekly paychecks to reduce administrative costs and possibly enhance investment opportunities. Follow up on the plan to combine facility management into one department, saving labor, equipment, and also becoming more efficient. Review all unfilled positions, especially those unfilled for 2 months or more and have the need justified before they are filled. Accelerate the effort to insure that vehicles registered out of state, but owned and operated by Bristol residents, in violation of the law, are registered in Connecticut, so that Bristol gets the tax dollars. Ask employees to defer their July 1 increase for 2, 4, or 6 months. I would think that there could be a way to address any concern as to those retiring in the next few years. Have a public hearing(s) where the public could offer their suggestions, AND also provide an online method where the public could also submit ideas. Form an Efficiency Committee, preferably of private citizens, to come up with and review potential ideas for savings, including reconsidering those submitted previously. Ideas that were not accepted previously, including when I was mayor, might be more acceptable under current conditions. And, I have many other ideas I can submit. While some, or even all, of these ideas might not make up any shortfall, most are not just one-time savings, and they would be a start. And who knows what ideas might be submitted by the public? We are all in this together; together we can make it
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