Budget Draft Presented

City Manager Gary O’Connell has presented the city’s $100.3M FY2005 budget proposal to City Council, a 7.1% increase over the current $93.6M budget. The city cites decreased state support (such as school and jail funding, a consequence of the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis) in the need to raise city taxes. To fund the increased spending, O’Connell proposes doubling the cigarette tax from $0.12 to $0.25 per pack, raising the monthly E-911 tax from $1.04 to $3, and an unspecified increase in the currently-$2/bag trash stickers. The debate over the proposal should last for about six weeks, at which time Council will take a vote. Elizabeth Nelson has the story in today’s Progress.

5 thoughts on “Budget Draft Presented”

  1. Mark Twain’s view of numbers applies fully to the C’ville budget which is and has been for years, propaganda intended to obscure just how bloated and expensive city government is. First, it uses the accounting trick of omitting city services like water and sewer and gas (even though you have no choice about paying the city for these either). It separates out the school payroll from the city’s, hence pretending state funding for local schools–which also comes out of your taxes–is somehow pennies from heaven. You will try in vain to answer the simple question how many people the city hired or fired last year or the year before, or which departments grew or shrank. It is impossible to determine which city offices are overstaffed, full of make-work paper-shufflers, or no-shows.

    In the end a city council deliberately kept ignorant is asked to approve lump-sum numbers on faith. That way no department’s budget ever gets cut, and your taxes keep going up and up and up and up and up.

    Bottom line: if you add it all up (the real numbers that is including the ones omited by account tricks) all city services are costing a shrinking population down to 40,000 taxpayers, a whopping $160 million. Four thousand dollars per citizen. Each man, each woman, each child, every baby in its cradle, is paying $4000 to keep the city government in clover.

    I do not want to know what taxes will they raise. I want to know what city jobs and programs and expenditures will they cut? You won’t find so much as sentence, a phrase, a word, not even a dust bunny in an empty room’s worth of information, about what they will REDUCE. The budget is only about expansion, a diet of fat and grease.

  2. Cutting anything isn’t in their lingo. They need to look at all of the departments to see who/what can go. Got a staffer who’s 6 months from retirement? Give them a buyout. Is there a department that could probably get buy hiring more seasonal help (such as parks and rec)? Then either can a few folks or let attrition work.

    I work for a state agency that is full of waste. My department is lean (just me) now, when I started here we had 4 people and 70% few resources to support. If I don’t see a need for something we don’t buy it. New computers? If your days are spent typing documents you don’t need anything new. The pisser is watching our misc staff who have no set jobs eat away at funds. One person here has one task – to hand out money 1 hour per day. The rest of the time she’s reading books (no games, we removed them from all PCs). Another person can’t afford to retire and spends the day in the cafeteria. They could save 70k + bennies here…but they won’t. Buy them out, eliminate the positions.

    If they have to increase a fee to cover something they should also consider eliminating at once they’ve gotten back on their feet. Design the entities to be self supporting and quit rewarding them for spending all of their monies.

  3. Gary O’Connell was quoted this morning as saying that, (paraphrase) "the current E-911 tax of $1.04 covers 1/3 of the cost to run the E-911 center; by raising the tax to $3, the tax will cover 2/3 of the cost."

    Perhaps I am missing something here.

    3 times 1/3 = 1 (or 3/3), not 2/3, correct?

  4. Your mistake is in assuming you and the City Manager inhabit similar time/space continuums where normal mathematical laws apply. To the contray for Gary O’Connell two and two might be four except the arithmetic tax reduces it to one. He lives in a place where there is nothing but government, no jobs but government jobs, and no salaries because all the money is taxed to support the government, and any laws of math to the contrary are suspended, having been declared invalid by the government.

  5. I guess I`m to lazy to google it but is there a complete and comprehensive Cville "line item" budget available on the web?

    If not, why not, and if so, anybody know where?

    Might be an interesting exercise to feed the councilors a few questions if one had the budget to peruse.

    It is, in part, a matter of interest to county residents as we as we know pay a portion of the city`s expenses.

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