The mayor's blog is live!
Welcome to the first post to my new blog! I’m excited to speak to you directly without any kind of filter. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the full story when time is limited, people are busy and events unfold quickly. That’s why I’m starting this blog: when you have questions about a particular issue associated with the city or my administration, I will try to address it here. I won’t get to every issue, of course, but the major issues being actively discussed within our community will be covered here.
As many of you are aware, our city’s finances are in poor shape. The labor contracts approved by the Assembly this year add an additional $110 million to the city’s financial obligations during the next five years. As of right now, we literally have no idea where funding for those additional costs will come from. With a total city budget of around $422 million, adding 20 percent more to it in times of severe economic uncertainty is irresponsible. It is also worth noting that these expenses do not add new city positions or services- they simply increase salaries and/or benefits for those already working.
I ask you to bear with me as we go through the 2010 budget process. With this large of a gap between revenues and committed expenses, some city departments and services inevitably will undergo reductions. The goal is to ensure that core services are delivered and the public doesn’t notice too much difference in customer service. My long-term view for the city budget is to restructure and reorganize it to make sure we are doing business as efficiently and effectively as possible. Those strategies will be developed throughout my time in office.
I heard taxpayers loud and clear on the campaign trail: enough! Citizens implored me to advocate for them and their desire to keep more of their hard-earned money, especially when many families are facing their own economic uncertainties. I intend to keep taxpayers at the top of the priority list when developing and deciding how our city spends money.
Along those lines, I encourage you to visit the Tax$avers site and send any suggestions you have for how the city can save money. We’ve had an amazing response from the public so far, and hope that you will take the time to send additional suggestions.