11/09/2010Posted by MJ
...The vote is due at next Wednesday’s meeting of the Council. Genewick, Council President Richelle J. Pasceri, Alderwoman Flora M. McKenzie and Alderman Joseph C. Kibler said they support the budget. Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr. said he would vote no, while Alderman Andrew D. Chapman said he wants to try to interest his colleagues in further cuts.
But Chapman said the Council already has achieved a lot. “If we hadn’t done anything [with the original budget], it would have been a 19 percent increase,” he said. “When we started this process, we were facing long odds,” Mayor Michael W. Tucker told the audience at the hearing. “We always hear, ‘Do things differently. Reduce the cost of government.’ That’s what we’re doing.”
The $21.4 million spending plan is nearly $1.8 million lower than this year’s, but $1.3 million of that reduction came because the garbage program has been deleted from the regular budget and is now a separate fund....
...Mullaney said that 24 jobs have been dropped from the budget and that privatizing the garbage service accounts for only 11 of those. The other jobs were vacated by retirements in the last month, he said, and only one or two are being filled...The articles mention that only three people spoke and non were set against the garbage plan. Be sure to get your spring cleaning done early! ;)
Another LUSJ article on the garbage transfer comparing it to the attempt back in 1991 to do the same.
...A glance back at the US&J headlines 19 years ago shows striking similarities between then and now. In the midst of another budget crisis, another Common Council is wrestling with the same bear of a problem: How to maintain expected services without gouging taxpayers. Trash collection is in the mix in both crisis periods primarily because of demand for recycling, but also because big-ticket items are naturally open to scrutiny in fiscal tough times...Getting employee's out of the city system is crucial when their overall costs are taken into account. Seen here is the looming public pension crisis for a number of NYS municipalities.
...There isn’t a moment to waste in pushing for changes to alter what is otherwise a collision course with dire consequences. Taxpayers cannot afford to continue supporting public employee health insurance into retirements, bolstering a model designed during a time in which this area had high-paying manufacturing jobs and public jobs tended to be lower paying with rich benefits. Manufacturing jobs have been lost and public employee salaries are higher now than aver-age private sector ones. What’s left is the legacy of a rich benefits package without the tax base to support it...
A Buffalo news article mentioning Erie County's current tactic of not using surplus' to cover re-occuring expenses.
...The moral of the story became: Don’t pay everyday, recurring expenses with nonrecurring income. Reserve money is considered nonrecurring one-shot money. When you spend it, it’s gone. Today’s county government money managers, including those at the control board, agree with the strategy to pay everyday expenses only with recurring income— income from sales taxes and property taxes, primarily...This is not being proposed this year but it was done last year and had to be accounted for in this year's budget.
As a reminder. The public comment session is tonight at city hall.
The Buffalo News and LUSJ has reported on the current budget status heading into tomorrow's public comment session at city hall.
The Common Council’s tentative 2011 city budget calls for a 69-cent tax rate cut.
Once trash collection is privatized and a flat pickup fee is levied, however, many property taxpayers will see a year-over-year increase in city living costs.
The garbage pickup fee is presently estimated to be $124 per “unit,” meaning per single-family home, apartment, business or other type property occupant, even tax-exempt users.
Average residential property assessment is $79,000. If the 2011 budget is approved, the average tax bill will fall to $1,247, down about $12 from this year’s bill, but when the $124 is added onto the 2011 bill, the average property owner’s cost of living here will rise $112.
Only when assessed property value is $179,000 does the owner “break even” on the city’s removal of refuse collection costs from the budget, according to calculations by 4th Ward Alderman Andy Chapman. Only where property is assessed for more than $179,000 will the owner see a true cut in city living costs...Here is the current preliminary budget spreadsheet as of today (11/9)
Smith proposed to lay off five police officers by shifting dispatching duties to the Niagara County’s Sheriff’s Office.
“You can’t arbitrarily make that decision in a week [before the budget vote],” Tucker said. “Not only are you affecting the five people who are losing their jobs, you’re affecting this community.”
“We’ll be looking at public safety in the next year,” Council President Richelle J. Pasceri said. “Our population base is dwindling. Our tax base is dwindling. These numbers are too big to lay on taxpayers’ shoulders year after year.”A reminder that we can only cut ourselves so much before we have nothing let to offer. The end vision should be creating a place that will draw new people to build income/taxible value.
The trash has partially come out, incrimental raises are paid for and we are borrowing for the new pumper. How are we feeling?
Previsous Budget 2011 discussion is here: Budget 2011-Part 1 "Requests"