Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts on Greensboro's Budget, by John Hammer

"Rhino Offers Budget Cut Recommendations

...eliminate the funding to Center City Park. The city has a difficult time maintaining the parks it owns.

Why on earth is the city paying to maintain a park owned by one of the richest foundations in town?

The park is the brainchild of Jim Melvin, president of the Bryan Foundation. The Bryan Foundation, through a fully owned subsidiary – Downtown Greensboro Renaissance LLC – bought the land, tore down the buildings and built the park. The Bryan Foundation had plenty of money to do all of that just the way it wanted to, not the way the city suggested it be done. Now let the Bryan Foundation pay to maintain the park. If the Bryan Foundation can't afford the park maybe it should have left that property on the tax rolls and allowed the people who worked in those buildings to continue to do so.

...Sell or give away Bryan Park golf courses. There are plenty of public golf courses around. It cost the city over $200,000 a year to maintain them. If there isn't some way to make them break even, then get rid of them.

...There is no reason for the city to have an assistant city manager and an assistant to the city manager in charge of economic development, and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to the Greensboro Partnership for economic development.

The Partnership, what is called the Chamber of Commerce in most cities, operates as an arm of the Democratic Party. Greensboro has its first Republican mayor and a Republican majority on the council. Why should the six Republicans and one independent on the City Council agree to keep funding an organization that supports Democrats?

A possible budget cut would be to treat the Greensboro Coliseum like every other department. Right now the Coliseum gets $1.8 million every year to spend on whatever the management deems fit. This is how the Coliseum got in so much trouble with the City Council over the now half-built amphitheater.

Coliseum Manager Matt Brown had money in his budget and, with permission from acting City Manager Bob Morgan, the Coliseum spent $130,000 on the amphitheater without the City Council's knowledge."

John Hammer
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