Friday, May 20, 2011

John Hammer on Rashad Young's proposed budget: "Where else can you cut $13 million from a budget and wind up with a higher budget than the year before?"

"City Manager Rashad Young['s] ...proposed 2011-2012 budget
ends up spending $17 million more than the current budget,
or $8 million more than the current budget,
depending on whether you want to use the budget that the City Council approved last year
or the new 2010-2011 budget that appears in the proposed 2011-2012 budget document.

...the budget that the City Council passed for 2010-2011 was $423 million
and the projected budget for 2011-2012 was $425 million.

But in the new 2011-2012 proposed budget book,
the 2010-2011 budget is listed as $432 million.

...How can there be a reduction in spending of $9.5 million and a revenue increase of $3.3 million
if the budget spends $8 million more than the revised current budget,
which is $9 million more than the budget that the council passed?

Young...recommends a raise for city employees.

...The benefit package for city employees in the private sector
would not be considered a Cadillac plan but a Rolls Royce plan.

...he is increasing spending by $8 million,
but cutting a theoretical $13 million that includes more revenue

...The city borrows a little less money,
reduces the funding by 10 percent to some of the nonprofits,
cuts some unfilled positions and a few that might as well be unfilled,
collects a little more in parking fees and, voila,
you have the $13 million in theoretical cuts and enhancements.

...Young recommends the kind of draconian reductions in spending
that managers are known for across the country.

...The key is to cut whatever will cause the most public outcry.

...the Benjamin Branch Library will have to be closed.

This historically has been the most popular branch library in the system.

It reopened after extensive renovation in January 2010.

It is in the heart of northwest Greensboro and has a vocal, powerful clientele.

Other than closing the Central Library downtown,
this is the branch that would likely cause the most ruckus to close.

Councilmembers Nancy Vaughan, Robbie Perkins and Zack Matheny won't be able to go for walk,
go to the grocery store or eat at the country club without getting an earful about this branch,
if the city were to close it, and for that reason the city won't.

...By far the best cut is to close all the public swimming pools in the city
except the indoor pool at Grimsley High School.

The city right now is in the process of building a $20 million aquatic center at the Coliseum,
which is billed as a facility where swimmers are going to come from all over the country,
if not the world, to compete,
and at the same time the city is going to close all but one of the public pools, including Lindley. one on the City Council challenged his budget cuts,
which increase the budget by $17 million, or $8 million, depending on which figure you like,
but if there were any doubts about the true direction the budget was headed
it can be found in the number of city employees.

The number of city employees increases in the proposed 2011-2012 budget from 3078.652 to 3081.076.

...the city cuts 20 positions but then at midyear adds back 22.

The budget projects increasing the number of employees by 17 in the 2012-2013 budget. employee is being cut from the city manager's office

...two are being added.

One way the city plans to improve its revenue stream
is by making $315,000 more on parking enforcement.

This is just another tax on downtown residents and businesses.

It is hard enough to do business downtown without increasing the parking enforcement.

Also the city wants to start charging for parking downtown at night
and is counting on making $200,000 on tickets for parking in fire lanes, and inspections.

Despite what the city thinks, people do not come downtown in hopes of getting a parking ticket,
and more people will not come downtown if parking fees increase, as does the chance of getting a ticket.

The City Council can eliminate the raise for city employees,
cut the nonprofits out of the budget instead of reducing the spending by 10 percent,
combine some more departments and actually reduce the number of employees,
which keeps going up year after year despite all the talk about cuts."


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