September 3, 2009

Ward:: 'It's not going to be easy'

City officials are beginning what could be a long road to layoffs and service reductions next year.
“We have to take a look at everything,” Mayor Art Ward told city department heads this week.
The mayor said he wants every city supervisor to prepare a memorandum detailing what it would take to slice his department’s spending by 5 and 10 percent.
“Try to be innovative and creative,” Ward said, urging officials to look for ways to be more efficient to revise “the ways and means of doing things” at City Hall.
With city leaders looking ahead at a budget gap next year that may top $10 million – about 8 percent of its annual spending – the Board of Finance is eyeing major changes as the only hope of coping with the problem without a massive property tax hike.
“They’ll be coming up with ideas about how to better serve the public,” the mayor said, based on the information provided by department chiefs.
John Smith and other finance commissioners said the city has to consider ways to restructure itself.
But he also said the city ought to look into the possibility of buying natural gas at the wellhead in Texas and electricity from the hydropower company in Quebec, steps taken by some private companies trying to squeeze every dollar.
Ward said the nine-member finance panel, which oversees the city’s budget and bonding, is already working on the budget for the fiscal year that starts next July.
With state aid stagnant, building and real estate sale fees down and expenses rising, the city is heading into a financial crunch with no obvious way out.
Ward said that overseers will be monitoring spending carefully and eyeing alternatives, including the possible consolidation of city offices.
Preparing the scenarios for cuts, he said, will let officials know “exactly how it’s going to effect your department.”
“We need to know what the impact’s going to be on your department,” Ward told several dozen city supervisors during this week’s department head meeting.
“It’s not going to be easy,” the mayor said. “I know it.”
“There are not a lot of choices,” Ward added. “We have to take a look at everything.”

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

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who's gonna write the book on how Bristol got into this deep of a hole?

Anonymous said...

They need to have the education department do education and not all the other things that could already done by the city. That would eliminate all the top heavy management and administration at the education department. If they don't cut it out of their budget until they do. Ward need to stop playing up to Tommie O'Brien and instead look out for all the voters.

Anonymous said...

Let's start with this short list to cut costs:

- eliminate redundancy (people and departments doing similar functions)
- reach out to other towns to investigate how to partner or combine some services to save costs
- offer early retirement packages
- stop buying real estate
- continue selling real estate the city already owns
- once again reach out to the unions for concessions
- where possible institute pay freezes, require unpaid furlows or look at cutting back services (ex. open City Hall later or close certain departments one day a week)
- realize just because something is budgeted doesn't mean we have to spend the money.

Just raising taxes on already over burdened tax payers is not the answer.

Just Venting said...

What a novel concept to be creative and look at everything. Is this really going to happen? Are we going to tell streets division to stop having so much OT every day, or police to give up the watching traffic pass by( okay providing traffic control, or are we actually going to have the schools cut the budget instead of increasing it and blaming it on the state mandates.

There is numerous small changes that can be made in the city that would save 10, 20 or even 100 thousand dollars each, but the "good ol boys" NEED TO BE WILLING TO STEP ON A FEW TOES TO GET IT DONE.
I myself have posted several on this website that would save over 100k, and I am sure many other people have similar suggestions.
The mayor and council need to open their ears and shut their mouths to make a difference.
Supervisors in the city need to make the employees do their jobs instead of allowing the 5 guys to do the work of 2, and contracting things out that city employees should be able to get done during normal hours. If they can't, supervisors should step up and discipline them

If you have a complaint file it with the proper department, if you see someone doing something they should not be doing report it.
this may make the mayor or council do more of the job of running the city.

Everyone likes to pick on the PW department so here is some info for you, they take break between 8 and 9 am for 15 minutes and the lunch is from 12 to 12:30, Driving time is included and they are not suppose to be more than 2 miles from the job site.

Anonymous said...

"Who's gonna write the book on how Bristol got into this deep of a hole?"

That would have to be a collaberative effort by most of Bristol's past mayors, CT state governors, the senate and a few presidents.

Anonymous said...

I dare the Mayor, and/or Kloko, to outline the 8, now 10 million projected deficit!

They are just putting out a huge number, so that they can look good when the REAL number comes in a lot lower.

We are getting sandbagged.

Where is the loyal opposition?

Where are the challenging candidates?

Concerned Conservative said...

The situation Ward faces in Bristol is one that encompasses the entire state. Connecticut is becoming a welfare based state, one where the government sector is the most desirable to be employed in and one that is not business friendly (compared to other regions of the country).

The tax and spend policies of our Legislature are a result of what people are bribed with. Unfortunately what is left of the manufacturing sector (the sector that generates and spreads the most wealth) in the U.S. is migrating (or has already migrated) to the south. In those states the people are not as pro-union as they are here.

Connecticut is on path to being a state of the very wealthy and the welfare class exclusively. Economic growth will be in regions elsewhere. Taxes here are sure to rise here and things will become even worse for future generations. The inability of the electorate to understand economic reality coupled with the attraction and growth of the poor minority class compound those facts.

Anonymous said...

Since Stortz isn't running against him for mayor (maybe), why doesn't ward put him on the Board of Finance.

He would shake things up!

Anonymous said...

As pathetic as you liberal posters are, now that you are complaining, who has been in charge for the past decade.? I mean who has held the majority seat. Is it a coincidence that the state D's with a super majority still took this long to get a budget passed. On the Federal level we can't print enough money fast enough to salvage our debt. On the local level, spend, spend, spend, regardless of where the money is coming from and not doing your job of attracting businesses or families to this town. Republican or Democrat it is no longer an issue of party at this level. It is about those that have the passion to roll up their sleeves and try. Try to bring business to this town, try to bring families to this town to create a stable tax base. 8 millin in the hole and counting and they are still spending money for landscaping and talking about buying overinflated properties. Seriously. Put your party affiliations aside and just think of the absurdity of that. IF you re-elecrt this administration, that thinking seems to be spend. If you give new blood a chance it's going to take 2 years to get out of this hole that this administration has dug. Whats going to happen when we are 10 million or 15 million in debt. We were 8 million as of the end of June and for God's sake that was the beginning of the fiscal year. You might not agree with all the "new blood candidates" out there but there are a lot that know where the priorities lie in making the hard descisions and having to curtail spending for the sake of this town. IF you revote the current administration back in, well shame on you because you got the government you deserve and it is rearing it's ugly head as we speak.

Anonymous said...

We should have been doing all these cuts and spending less all along!!...then we wouldn't be in this situation. Just shows how much money government wastes and doesn't think twice about it until it's too late. If we can cut now, then we could have cut 10 years ago just the same. Nobody in this country likes living within 'our' means and now we are paying for it dearly. If you don't have it, then don't spend it. If you can save money and do things cheaper...then do it, which should have been done all along

Odin said...

What's pathetic, Mr. 8:59, are you Republicans who criticize liberals for criticizing Ward for his handling of the crisis that was created by your party's bungling of the economy for eight years! You morons ran the country into the ditch, so no one gives a **** what you think! Have the decency to shut up and go away while the grownups try to clean up the mess that you made.

mommie dearest said...

8:59 should step up to the plate rather than telling everyone else what to do; that is, if that person even has a clue as to what day that it is.

Anonymous said...

As good as Stortz could be,he won't be because personal agendas and his personality get in the way.
BOE needs an outside, independent, intelligent source overseeing how they spend their (taxpayer's) money (Tommie need not apply).
Combine maintenance for the entire city with PW and BOE maintenance staff, then trim personnel.
How can one think productively when all they can think about is getting re-elected?
Stop hiring consultants use the people we have and get the job done. No one wants to take ownership. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spend for inferior recommendations.
Propose forloughs, work 4 days instead of five, open later, close earlier.....NOT taking another wage cut, because the bozos at the top have screwed up.
Period.

Anonymous said...

Why does the city have to pay for an assistant superintendent to do the job the superintendent should be doing? Sounds like there is a lot of duplication at the Board of Education. Expensive lawyers negotiating contracts with unions could be replaced with less expensive city lawyers. The Board of Education could eat a little less. Can you imagine if the City Council or Board of Finance spent money on food and drink like that for their meetings? Getting fat on the taxpayers dime? Everybody should buy their own lunch, not have the city foot the bill. A free lunch it is not.

Anonymous said...

You must be kidding! The Republican ticket two years ago ran on the idea of cutting costs at City Hall.

Ward got elected and gave out nice big contracts to his union boy's, then took them back making it look like he did something.

Now that it's election time, he's worried about the costs! WHAT A JOKE....AGAIN TALKING OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH!

And you Collins are playing right into his hand. Why don't you print the who stories when it comes to things like this. Why not tell people Ward voted to give raises to unions? Why not tell people Ward voted yes to buy the house on Dutton Ave....as a matter of fact there was only one Councilman who voted no, saying it was too much. I didn't even see that in your story. Collins at one time you wrote great stories telling the whole truth.....now you have become.........who knows!

Concerned Conservative said...

Odin:

With your post you prove you are not a grown up. You also prove you have no idea what you're talking about.

Bush wasn't a true conservative or a true supply-sider but he is an economic genius compared to the "Community Organizer. Obama can't even make a policy on his own. Pelosi is running the show and her ultra-liberal socialist plans will do nothing but destroy what's left in the country.

Also Odian can't you do anything but throw bombs and call names? I mean try to articulate how more government spending and higher costs for business is helping the economy? But you can't, I understand.

Steve Collins said...

8:05 -- Ward's votes on union contracts have been reported extensively. Just do a search on this blog.
And I'm not aware of any vote on the Dutton Avenue house except that two members of the Real Estate Committee, Frank Nicastro and Mike Rimcoski, voted last month to send the decision to the council next Tuesday.
Given the new appraisal, I'm quite sure from talking to various officials that the city isn't going to approve a $218,000 purchase that night. If there was a previous vote that I've forgotten, tell us about it.
In all honesty, there isn't as much background in stories today because we have less space to write them and, even more important, all the background is easily available here on this blog or on the Press website. Anyone who wants to know what happened earlier, can find out. I don't go into as much as I used to because it seems ever more superfluous.

Anonymous said...

You the people elected and reelected the people that oversee the BOE!!

The idea of combining maintenance was initiated 3 years ago: ask Ward where it is now!

The elected officials don't have to come up with productivity, they just have to get the mangers to do it.

Ask Frank how he increased productivity by giving employees more PAID time of.

Anonymous said...

Mr. 7:10

You have Mr. Personality himself in the mayors office. Is that what you want more of?

Or do you want competence?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

The Dutton house has already come before the city council about one year ago. A vote was taken to purchase it....it passed 6-1

Anonymous said...

Why do they need a separate Parks Department? Why do they need a separate Water Department? Why not combine it all under one agency, public works? Why not combine the police and fire departments under one agency, public safety. Seems that there is redundancy that can be easily eliminated. Why not have the city oversee the school food lunch program since it already does for seniors. They have to be creative to do more with less rather than just coming up with all the reasons why they can't do things.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers -
Please each list 3 services you currently enjoy that is covered by your tax dollars that you would either pay more for - or do without.
Don't be cute and say - education, but be realistic.
For example - I don't think we need to pick up leaves, let the citizens bring them to the landfill themselves or pay a surcharge. It is a service I would be willing to take on my self and cut from the budget.
Just curious where you feel you could give something up.

Anonymous said...

Cut the fat at the BOE and city hall!

Odin said...

CC:

You think Bush is an economic genius compared to Obama?!? What are you smoking? Bush got into Yale as a legacy candidate and his transcript is filled with "gentleman's C's". Obama graduated from Harvard Law and taught law at the University of Chicago for years. Get real.

wondering said...

is it personality or personal?

Anonymous said...

ODIN:
The reblubicans didn't give:
1. Ward or this admiistration the vote to buy the center mall and hire scores of consultants costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to in effect do nothing. The mall site is now worth half as much as we paid for it and costing us money as it sits vacant each day.
2.Yes, even though it was state money, 15.1 million dollars has been spent from Main St. plantings to Rockwell park. Not a dime of tha money has brought in any income generating services to Bristol.And as expected, we are catching wind of our first law suits beginning to happen due to people being injured at the skate park.
3.The fact that they are even considering it a "good idea" to pay $40,000 more than market value for a house on Dutton St. to once again use for a park that will not generate any income for this city. $309,000 to buy a house behind city hall for future expansion plus cleanup that is estimated to be at $150k plus for demolition. I know , Ward must have been on the "Republican hotline" because none of these descisions have been caused by the economy.
4. This is just stuff that has happened in the last 24 months or so and there is still more talk of spending. Whoever caused the recession doesn't seem to be an issue to this administration. Funny , as I am typing this, a street sweeper (for the 3rd time this week) is going by my house over the same exact spot.

Anonymous said...

Eliminate the City Council (@$100,000.) and let Wards apointed BOF handle all the decisions.

And we will save at election time too.

wonder brain said...

city council is only $60,000 and then you'll be complaining because no one is watching over the finance board.

Ricky said...

NO lawsuits have been filed on the skate park - get your facts right.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be any different than now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the following post. It seems to cover the bases.

September 3, 2009 5:47 PM

Let's start with this short list to cut costs:

- eliminate redundancy (people and departments doing similar functions)
- reach out to other towns to investigate how to partner or combine some services to save costs
- offer early retirement packages
- stop buying real estate
- continue selling real estate the city already owns
- once again reach out to the unions for concessions
- where possible institute pay freezes, require unpaid furlows or look at cutting back services (ex. open City Hall later or close certain departments one day a week)
- realize just because something is budgeted doesn't mean we have to spend the money.

Just raising taxes on already over burdened tax payers is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

And what say you, Mary?

Anonymous said...

Dear ricky:
As I stated, if you can read, there are lawsuits currently in the works, sorry I figured with that statement I thought it would blanket the fact theat yes as of this moment there are no lawsuits againsts the skatepark, but there are 2 in the works. If they get anywhere, I don't know, I am stating the facts.

Odin said...

Anonymous 1:39 pm:

1. The “Reblublicans” (I love that…gotta remember to use it myself!) didn’t give us Centre Mall because they weren’t in power. If Stortz had been mayor he would have done it too (he may not admit it, but he would have) Ward and the City Council had the courage to take over a piece of urban blight and try to do something with it. It was practically vacant anyway, just a bunch of deep discount junk retailers. If you Monday-morning quarterbacks had your way it would be a burnt-out hulk of building on a weed lot, in the center of downtown, collecting no taxes (just accumulating tax liens). May I remind you that EVERYONE at that time said the City had to do something. What would YOU have done?
2. Spending on Rockwell Park? State money, not Bristol taxpayer money. If it didn’t get spent in Bristol if would have gotten spent in Griswold. Grow up. And so what if it hasn’t brought new businesses to Bristol? Doesn’t quality of life count for anything? You’re the typical Reblubican (ah!!): you know the cost of everything but the value of nothing.
3. One sub-committee discussion by three Councilmen doesn’t make for a done deal. Give the City Council credit for some common sense, if for no other reason than it’s an election year. They are not going to pay $40,000 over appraised value. And if they didn’t buy the Lepore property four years ago, they ain’t gonna buy it now. The problem is perception: you’re seeing “the decision-making process” in action. That’s called “transparency” and it’s something new to Bristol. When I was a kid a decision like this would get made in the backroom. We’d read about it for the first time in the Bristol Pres after the Board of Finance voted to pay for it.
4. Bristol is not broke, so we’re not going to curl up in a catatonic ball until the recession is over. New needs emerge, spending continues, life goes on.

Anonymous said...

That`s the promblem the dept heads and asst don`t know there jobs so how can you ask them to fix it they just keep padding there pockets.

Concerned Conservative said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Why didn't they make the tough choices months ago, BEFORE THE ELECTION?

Anonymous said...

Odin, you have no clue as to what you are talking about: you sound like Obamas teleprompter writer.

Anonymous said...

12:04

Just how "TRANSPARENT" is Ward making our current budget/deficit situation?

How much is the deficit, do they anticipate a deficit for 09-10, how huch have we tapped one time sources?

Art, show us some transparency!!!

Concerned Conservative said...

Odin:

It's the policy stupid. Obama's stimulus package is a joke. The cash-for clunkers program did more harm than good. The federal deficit is ten of trillions of dollars, unemployment is at record highs and NOTHING Obama has done has worked. And nothing he does will because he is a naive, left-wing American-tradition-hating charlatan.

Bush has an MBA from Harvard. He owned a business, made payroll, paid taxes and ran organizations that created wealth and capital. Obama and his wife were over-paid academics and have no clue or common sense when it come to economic policy. Before being President Obama did nothing that had to do anything with economics and commerce. Obama was a part-time lector and a community organizer before he was in the state senate. Now's he's President of the US? Tell me this is just a nightmare!

But aren't you past the point in your life that you judge a person based on their college or high-school GPA? I mean come on. You need to grow up. But while you're at it, what was Tery Parker's GPA (LOL!).

Obama's economic policies are terrible. The only thing worse is his accommodating of dictators like Hugo Chavez and Castro, his treatment of Israel, his blasé' attitude about Iraq, his inability to deal with Iran and North Korea and being pushed around like a little kid by Russia.

I'll admit I am mildly disappointed by some things Bush did, but that's not the point in September of 2009. Obama is clearly the worst President we've had since Jimmy Carter and his time in office will certainly be four years, not more.

Oh and since you think Republicans are so inept and Dumb-o-crats are so great, why not compare a Republican dominated state like Texas to a Democrat dominated state like any in the rust belt? Texas (the state formerly governed by GW Bush) is enjoying growth while states in the rust belt like Connecticut are losing business, jobs and population (not including the welfare class).

Anonymous said...

Next week for sure we will take care of things!

Anonymous said...

I'm a worker at City Hall. Many of us are hard working, and care about serving the public. Trust me, there's no frills or perks for us regular workers, I barely make $35k year. What the people of the City need to realize is that there is no accountability for Dept. heads or supervisors actions. Every day I watch people get away with so much it turns my stomach.
People of the City, please wake up. Attend the council meetings, wetlands, or even BDA meetings. So much is going on and half the Boards have blinders on to what really goes on.
Let's be realistic - the "Depot Square" will not amount to anything- lower class is too close, downtown offers next to nothing- and please- do not say we need to bring business to downtown. It just won't happen. Why isnt the BDA director going out and looking for businesses to come to Bristol? Tell you why, because no one is held accountable to do there job. Talk about money being thrown away......

blurred vision said...

Bush's MBA translates into "Mother Buys Admiration" because the idiot never has done anything on his own - from serving his country to screwing his country - I guess from his perverted point of view - he was successful - god bless us all.

wow said...

at least kerry showed up for military service and could care about the troops versus flubbing up the Texas Rangers - probably mad because they didn't deputize him.

Anonymous said...

4:55

Glad to see that someone else sees rosenthal like Stortz did.

Too bad the then democrat council was more intent on embarassing stortz than in doing the right thing.

Anonymous said...

4:55

And Ward was one of Rosenthals biggest supporters!

Expect more of the same for the next two years, unfortunatly.

Concerned Conservative said...

From Fox News and The Associated Press:

Author and journalist Ronld Kessler, a national security expert, said Obama's lack of management experience is starting to catch up with him.

"You're seeing a White House in disarray," he said, citing the contentious debate over health care reform and the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison without finding a place to send the detainees. "He is not exactly a model CEO."

--In other words he is doing a lousy job.

Anonymous said...

It's poetic justice for Ward to win the election and deal with the next two years. Poetic.

Anonymous said...

ART MUST GO!!!!!!!! the dem need to have somebody else run and have a primary, He will kill this town.

Anonymous said...

Ward is a pleaser, and will not hurt his buddies, family or union boys - but he will screw the taxpayers to keep all his crew happy. Thanks Ward - fo ryour lack of leadership that is moving Bristol Backwards.

Anonymous said...

8:53, You sound pretty confused. You say Ward won't hurt his buddies, family or union boys - but will screw the taxpayers to keep all his crew happy. But his buddies, family and union boys ARE taxpayers...How would that be keeping his crew happy?

You are right about one thing though...Ward is a pleaser. Most of us are quite pleased with the job he's done, especially during this recession, keeping Bristol moving for-WARD!

Anonymous said...

And a political/governmental neophyte is not the solution unless she is a front for others.

Is so, who are they?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mayor and Diane (HR)
Do you have a safe system for disgruntled employees to "whistle blow" when they see misuse of company time/resources or whatever?
I recognize that there are a few complainers in every company - but what if poster at 4:55 on 9/7 has legitimate issues?
Maybe there should be an "800" to call into. You can "outsource" this service to retain confidentiality.
All calls could be reviewed by the council in some form of executive session.

Anonymous said...

4:55

There are many out there that know that Rosenthal is not only useless, but a major financil burden to the city. His day will come . . . trust me.

Anonymous said...

Artie, it would have been a lot easier if you had started two years ago when you and the others became aware of the economic concern.

Anonymous said...

I am the 9/7 4:55 poster.

I want to be clear I am not disgruntled and don't wish to come across that way. As a City employee I take pride in my work and hope my work reflects that. I would love to have a place to voice my concerns such as the 1-800 # someone suggested. However, the unfortunate thing is I do not trust the Personnel Director or other Dept. Heads enough to talk to. I have tried in the past, even brought physical evidence of abuse to people that may be able to do something about it, but that lead no where and I felt it got pushed aside.
The people who truly believe in the City and want to do something to better it, don't work for the City. They only see so much, and believe what is told to them. It's truly disheartening to watch and I sincerely hope that whichever candidate wins this November, they don't leave us with a bunch of empty promises like we have grown accustomed to.

Tired of lies... said...

9:43am - pleased with Wards job so far - you must love failure. Art has no idea how to lead. His lack of leadership is killing this town.

Watching carefully said...

Unions are killing this town because they create lazy workers. Dept heads are not held accountable because the city fears they will run to the unions. Diane F. needs to get a backbone and Ward needs to find his B@%#s!

Anonymous said...

Can someone please clue Ward in on how the budget works?

Anonymous said...

DON`T ASK HIM HOW A BUDGET WORKS HE WILL HAVE TO ASK SOMEONE, LACK OF EXPERINCE!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bring Stortz back!

Anonymous said...

Agree with the 8:47 poster. An 800 number is a good idea. Diane and Ward must be cringing, they would have to address what has been swept under the carpet, issues the taxpayer has no idea about. Talking to Diane is like talking to no one at all, possibly because Mayors are here today, gone tomorrow, no help in the long run.
If the workers didn't have unions, the city would be a pathetic place to work, with no one staying more than a year, long enough to see what a joke it is. Advice to young people: Stay away, short term okay, long term no way. No respect, no communication, dictator type leadership. Take the benefits away and no one would stay.

Anonymous said...

9:44, If you're so tired of lies, here's a thought...stop spreading them. Your bogus, vague complaints and innuendos are old and tired, but I'm sure that won't stop you...never has before...probably never will. ;0)

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Ferguson the one that "cleared" Rosenthal?

Why the Personnel Director, other than she was/is contrllable?

Anonymous said...

7:51am - I see someone hit a nerve with you. Must be the person they were talking about?

Anonymous said...

10:51, Nope...missed the nerve, missed on your guess about who I am, missed the point...pretty obvious that you miss quite a bit...LMAO!!!

Anonymous said...

11:10am - don't be so sure. I already know who you are, real loser.

Anonymous said...

DIANE F PLAYS THE GUYS AND THEY FLL FOR IT. SHES TROUBLE.

Anonymous said...

Oops 3:10, missed again!

Anonymous said...

Art, you want $100,000 plus for an EASY job?
Plus unlimited time off?

Anonymous said...

Ward wants to get paid for doing nothing - and guess what he has been pulling this off for the last 2 years.

Anonymous said...

8:24

And because the repubs have not put up a viable candidate, he will be doing itagain for two more years.

Anonymous said...

9:40

Thank You, Republicans!

Anonymous said...

Another blown opportunity by the republicans.

Where are they?

Anonymous said...

We need a major overhaul of the makeup of the Board of Finance.

Thet have become dinosaurs!

Anonymous said...

9-11 4:23

In hiding, and rightfully so.
They are an embarassment.