by: Diane Benjamin
I did not attend this Townhall, I’m relying on reports from people who were there.
Citizens attending totaled around 100. One report I received said a good number of them were City employees. There is nothing wrong with that, other than their interest is to keep their jobs. They can’t be blamed for that.
A show of hands was asked to identify those that favored cuts (about 1/4th), those that favored tax increases (over half), and those favoring a combination of cuts and increases (30-40 %) with a number of double votes in the last two categories.
Cuts proposed by citizens:
- Open the books down to detail level so citizens can make better decisions
- Free lunches/meals during council work sessions, free bottled water for Water dept
- Hire locally when possible, Jesse Smart reiterated 7 to 1 acceleration for local spending.
- Concern for those that do not have the capability to pay more, stated that increase in property tax would be preferable, so those with modest housing would be impacted to a lesser degree.
- Deal with pension issue: while hands are tied (re state formulas), we do have control over number of future hires.
- Reduce land holdings, city should not be a landlord (i.e. Creativity center)
No cuts group:
- City employee: Keep parks and roads funded
- BCPA director: Maintain funding
- Continue to support SOAR
- Keep economic development activity
- Downtown businessman: Downtown in decline, increase levels of Police staffing.
- Former City employee: current city staffing at skeleton level.
- Owner of small tech company (25 employees): Keep funding all “quality of life” functions so he would be better able to attract 3 new out-of-town employees.
- A couple of “all govt is good govt” attendees: continue to spend whatever is desired.
- Concern expressed that whatever action is taken, this is only the beginning of future increases in future years.
- Sentiment expressed that while private sector salary increases have to be earned, public sector increases are automatic/expected.
- The only new revenue identified was an increase in food/beverage tax
Monday night is the Public Hearing on the budget. No details are available yet on the City website. Unless you like tax increases – this is the night to show up!
2 thoughts on “Report on the Schmidt-Sage-Black Townhall”
I am a city employee, I saw 5 others. I wouldn’t say 6 percent is a “good number”.
What department do you work in?