January 07, 2011 | 04:24 PM
The 2011 Capital Project list is a good example of how this city works.
After you spend more than you collect, you borrowed from the city reserve funds. When that money run out, instead of cutting spending, you looked for new revenue source by increase taxes or fees on the citizens, business or visitors. Now that these additional sources are inadequate to cover your spending, you have turned to borrowing money.
But convincing people to borrow money requires special tactics.
1.) First step: You have to get everyone you can to support the borrowing. This is done by giving something to everyone so that they all will support the issue.
Let us see if step one has been done:
a.) The Library gets $25,000 for window coverings and a new carpet.
b.) The police get $12,000 for new furniture.
c.) The Public Works get 4 new trucks.
d.) The Veteran’s park gets a new volleyball court and water faucets.
And the storm water problem at Dunn field is being addressed.
e.) The fire department gets a new $975,000 aerial truck.
Good: step 1 is done well, everyone gets something.
Step two: Is to place something at the top of the list that is almost impossible to object to.
Let us see if step 2 has been done:
Top Items is “Protective Gear” for the fire department. Excellent choice – who could possibly object to buying “protective gear” for the fire department?
Let me commend you. You have followed all the needed procedures to get the borrowing of $3.5 million approved.
But let us look at that protective gear. It is listed at $27,000 for 2011; $27,000 for 2012; $27,000 for 2013. That is an on going expense and it should be part of the fire departments basic operating expense and therefore it should have been put into the budget and should have already approved as part of the fire department budget. Furthermore, the safety of the fire department employees is the highest priority and items regarding their safety such as “Protective Gear” should be budgeted first and never dependant on uncertain financing such as borrowing money. I support the “Protective Gear” for the Fire department, but I am thoroughly disgusted with the police and fire commission who have wagered the safety of Firemen by using their “Protective Gear’ as a bargaining chip to win approval to borrow $3.5 million dollars.