September 17, 2013

Wilson touts 'regular, rigorous review' of city budget

Press release from Democratic mayoral candidate Chris Wilson:

Wilson Stresses Importance of Regular, Rigorous, Review of City Budget.

Bristol mayoral candidate Chris Wilson believes it’s time for a “regular, rigorous, review” of Bristol’s city budget.  Wilson believes Bristol can unlock wasted resources by adopting real budget reform that reflects the fiscal practice known as Performance Based Budgeting.  PBB practitioners, a. establish priorities that differentiate between what the city council wants and what Bristol taxpayers can afford; b. set performance standards for every city department and c. conduct regular reviews of performance.  

“As a businessman, if my company is spending money on something and we aren’t getting a reasonable return on that investment, I need to think long and hard about whether or not we continue that spending? I want to apply that same mentality to city tax dollars.”  Wilson stated.

Wilson went on to say, “On the Board of Education, we returned $4,800,000.00 in surplus dollars to Bristol taxpayers, we received Zero school budget increases and test score have improved.  Additionally, the BOE recovered $4,000,000.00 dollars from school renovation projects.  That’s accountability to taxpayers.  That’s doing more with less. Taxpayers are tired of lip service.  They want results,” Wilson stated.

Wilson contends that in 2013-14; Bristol will spend about $185 million dollars.  He says the problem is that the City Council spends almost the entire budget process focusing on the 5 percent they cut rather than the 95 percent we keep.  The overwhelming majority of Bristol’s nearly one-fifth of a billion dollar budget will be spent without asking what we are trying to achieve by this spending, whether we are producing the results we expect to achieve, whether we can achieve better results through other means, or even whether we should be spending this money in the first place.  

“The fact is, under the current City Council’s watch, including my opponent Mr. Cockayne; the city budget went up by more than 20% over the past five years. Now that Mr. Cockayne is running for mayor, he wants us to believe he’s going to initiate consolidation and find savings.  If he’s such a fiscal watchdog, why has he waited so long to announce efforts to create efficiencies?  He’s had six years.  The fact is, while I’ve been on the Board of Education and Chairman, the city’s share of the budget decreased, we gave $4,800,000.00 back to taxpayers. My opponent may not like these facts, but facts they remain.” Wilson stated.

“Wilson concluded with, “A 1% savings from PBB could mean $1,850,000.00 for public safety, economic development and education.  All without raising taxes one dime.”

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