Tax Management, Fiscal Responsibility, City Spending
I recognize the ongoing efforts of City administration to manage costs and maintain previously set standards of service. I believe that, above all City Councilors, should be mindful of your tax dollars & city spending.
1) Our expectations must be modified to respect these realities. Options are as follows:
The City is experiencing revenue reductions due to reduced growth, assessment appeals, and a reduction of investment income (currently about 2%). There has also been a decrease in industrial taxes, thereby increasing the load further on residential tax payers. Therefore Denis Walsh proposes:
Provide management direction to department managers to immediately reduce budgets across all activity areas.
Reduce user fees on seniors and those of fixed income by providing incentives to utilize services in low use periods...
Move away from high-end service levels in many areas, to reflect the need for affordability. Potential examples include limiting use of manicured lawns, decreasing the number of extensive flower beds, and frequency of services.
City activities should be viewed carefully by program area. If another agency provides a similar service then we should not. If the service provided is not required by law, it needs to be questioned. If service costs are out of proportion to industry averages, they need correction.
2) Embrace responsible spending through transparent budgets and a participatory budgeting process
Tough decisions need to be made around budgeting and I propose:
Over the next year complete a cost-benefit analysis of provision of services, and put this forward for public discussion and involvement in priority setting.
Carry out a five year plan of expenditures, supporting ideas brought forward by the tax payers.
Implement participatory budgeting processes, where neighbourhood capacity exists, to increase democratic deliberation and decision-making.