Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Four St. Pete Budget Cuts that Don't' Touch the Parks, Libraries or other City Amenities

The Mayor is trying to drum up support for a millage increase. Before we do that let's take a look at some possible budget reduction opportunities.

Here are four specific budget cut suggestions:

The Business Assistance Services Department
The 2012 Budget is $880,000. Eliminate Business Assistance completely and pass responsibility to the Chamber of Commerce.

The Economic Development Department
The 2012 Budget is $684,000. Eliminate Economic Development completely and pass responsibility to Chamber of Commerce or a citizens committee

Engineering Department
If you look at the detailed budget for the Engineering Department, you will see millions of dollars in salaries and other costs offset by something called "Burden Capital Costs". This approach is a clever way of hiding costs in an over bloated less than effective department by getting the revenue from capital projects. It just shifts the cost from one bucket to another. Let's get $750,000 to $1 million dollars out of the Engineering department by reducing costs and staff. Trust me as one who has been a recipient of their services, no one will miss what's cut and we can out source what may be needed.

The Police Communications Center
The 2012 budget is about $ 6.8 Million. Outsource this effort to Sheriff, eliminate one assistant chief, put the remaining civilians under Chief's office. Conservative estimate of the actual annual savings would be $2.75 to $3.25 million.
Using the conservative numbers, right there in four City departments is over $5 million dollars in savings or almost half of the short fall and we have not touched a library, park, pool or other amenity. In fact we have probably improved service to the organization and the public in several areas.

There is more to be found, a lot more.

These must be genuine budget cuts where the people are removed from the payroll and costs eliminated. No changing titles, no shuffling around no cutting unfilled positions, real cuts that produce real recurring savings.

These are tough decisions and they require courage and leadership, things that are in short supply at City Hall.

e-mail doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net


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