Charlottesville is running an online survey about government spending, seeking advice about how they can cut spending and improve governance. There’s a lot of kvetching here about city spending — here’s your chance to direct that to the decision makers.
14 thoughts on “City Spending Survey”
I just finished filling it out. Those are some tough questions! Especially if you (like I) are not hooked into the (schools) concerns of I suspect most citizens. It is tough to frame architectural preservation and telling the city to stay out of and to put the brakes on development as “money for your tax dollars” and “citizen focused.” But I did my best.
(reposting from memory, due to bug)
Oh crap! I forgot to mention the rescue squad thing.
For the record (such as it is):
The city should spend X amount of dollars subsidizing CARS rather than starting off on their own upstart venture. CARS has provided excellent and world-class service to the area for as long as I can remember (and has saved the ass of I and mine a couple times.) This is clearly a fiscal misadventure which should be reversed before it is entrenched.
Value for tax dollars. Citizen focused.
Glad Morgan mentioned the rescue squad thing. I also mentioned the new fire station. I love the way the authors implied that if the taxes are reduced the citizens will get fewer services. Is bricking the alley beside the Paramount a service? What about the intersection at Water and 2nd East? These projects are $900k and there are more down the line. The City has no intentions of reducing spending. The staff doesn’t want to and Council doesn’t know how. Council has established committees on how to spend more money on housing, transportation, parks and recreation, etc. Why not create an ongoing committee of citizens (not organizations that love receiving tax dollars) to come up with suggestions on how to reduce spending by considering the line items of the whole budget? I’m sure there are people in the community who have expertise in areas such as retirement benefits, risk management, bond issuance, etc. that would be glad to help the City get more bang for its bucks. So far, all we hear are the results of brainstorming about ways to start new projects. Won’t happen. Too much loss of power and control.
The committe on Parks and Recreation will not have to worry about how to spend more money. The YMCA aquatic/fitness center will drain the city budget just to keep it going. The city has never cut one dime of spending from a proposed budget. Over the years there have been some really well thought out suggestions on how to trim spending and the suggestions have never been heeded. I for one would like to see a reduction in curbside recycling. If you want to recycle then take your recycables to the McIntire recycling center and drop them off. A $1M yearly savings from the budget. Education spending needs to be stopped at its current level. City bus service needs to be curtailed. Fuel to run these vehicles alone is astronomical. City departments need to start driving smaller more fuel efficient vehciles. No need for the big SUV’s. If you want to see how taxpayer money is really wasted get a copy of the city budget and review it.
Just my .02
jogger, did these comments go on the survey?
Cville Eye, yes, but in a more condensed form. I’m hoping they can read my scribble.
Just watched Council’s public hearing on Smart and Efficient Government. Wasn’t smar. Fortunately, only five citizens wasted their time speaking. It was really funny (and sad) to watch Gary O’Connell’s annual statement that by spending more money every year, he is actually spending less, and that has equaled about $10M in savings (I didn’t hear him say over what period of time but the impression left was last year). You know how the stores subtract actual cost from the msrp and tells you at the bottom of the receipt how much you have actually “saved” and you feel like a smart shopper until you get the charge card bill? Yes, Council seemed to buy it. Although Council is not effective in keeping O’Connell from continually saving money by hiring more staff, Mayor Norris felt compelled to hurl a canon ball at the school board concerning the money spent on Central Office staff. Let’s see, he’s in City Hall and don’t know what’s going on there and he’s not in Central Office and does know what’s going on there. I did find out though that a new assistant city manager has already been hired with the same duties as those of Jim Tolbert, director of neighborhood services. I really don’t understand how that’s different from the two positions in human resources in Central Office. It’s clear who’s putty in whose hands at City Hall.
I also learned that Council considers it necessary to spend $10M on a new building in the Fontaine Avenue area to house only one fire company. One! That was considered saving the City money in the long run because if they didn’t build it now, the City’s insurance rates MAY go up sometime in the future, even if no notice of pending rate increases has been received. Smart.
Every year I write a huge comment about how ridiculous the same $ same service multiple choice question is. It is possible to do more with less. The part that drives me absolutely insane is that we’ll hear some portion of them justify bad choices with the chant ‘most-citizens-want-us-to-keep-doing-the-same-thing’ because that’s what was most checked on this silly multiple choice question.
I’m glad somebody else is seeing the same thing. The CBS local news said last night that the budget will not rise more than 5 percent this year. Let’s watch. Gary O’Connell has never seen a dollar that he won’t spend. Council looked to be mesmerized by O’Connell at the Council’s meeting.
Story in today’s Daily Progress on the whereabouts of Camblos and Moore:http://www.dailyprogress.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=CDP/MGArticle/CDP_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173354322753 “Moore, a career prosecutor who previously spent eight years working in Charlottesville before leaving for the county, said he is helping to prosecute city cases for the time being and that he is still seeking permanent employment.” O’Connell’s realy saving money hiring someone to help out during the slow season. Now, what hidden pot of money did Moore’s salary come from? One day, I’ll be able to hire a friend to help him pay his mortgage while unemployed. If he’s really needed, why hasn’t he been hired permanently? Council is really watching the dollars.
As I have said before, council has never cut one dollar from a city budget. Some people with some really great ideas on how to trim the budget have expressed their views in the past and they have been ignored. When you have one party rule and people on council who don’t or won’t listen, then uncontrolled spending happens. It’s awfully easy to be generious and spend other peoples money. Mr. O’Connell will show city property owner’s how much he has “saved” the city when the new tax assessments come out.
If crime in the city according to a recent report is correct it does seem wasteful to have Mr. Moore on staff. I guess if crime keeps going down we will see more and more prosecutors out of work. Let’s all get together and encourage our criminal brethern to pick up the pace and commit more crimes.
jogger, do you have any idea which pot the moeny for Mr. Moore’s salary is coming from? I’ll bet you not one Councilor thought to ask, if any of them knew.
Cville Eye there is absolutely no reason to ask any questions when you are spending other peoples money. From my observations of council over the years I have come to believe they know very little about anything. They merely rubber stamp O’Connell’s proposals.
May I suggest that you obtain a copy of the city budget when it is made available. You will see literally hundred’s of items that could be cut or eliminated from the budget and no one would even notice, and it would certaintly not affect city services.
I for one would like to see a 20% cut of police, fire, public transportation, and a 30% decrease in the education budgets. These budget areas are loaded with excess spending without accountability or oversight from anyone. The uncontrolled spending in these areas is the main reason that city property taxes are outrageously high.
In prior years you have provided a blog site that allowed everyone to see all budget questions and City responses. Why have you stopped using this more open and transparent format?
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