The Eighty Grand Questions

The Eighty Grand Questions

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Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#1 Apr 9, 2014
Questions: Will the Budget Committee spread the 80 grand "cuts" needed to bring in the Budget under the State Cap among all the City Depts? If not, why? Were raises given in new contracts with City employees before Budget crafting began? If so, why? Is there precedence for this? These questions are not designed for embarrassment or for public chastisement of the Budget Committee. This is a simple exercise in Open Government. I encourage everyone to spread this message to people who do not view Topix and I further encourage everyone contacted to call upon their Alderperson. Insist that the Budget be brought in under the State Cap. Time is running out. Thank You.
Bobby Budget

New Hartford, NY

#2 Apr 9, 2014
Well Dave, a moron could bring your budget down 80,000.

Eliminate the cleaner in city hall non essential position + 35,000

Eliminate the dispatcher in the PD who doesn't dispatch + 32,000

Have the Fire Chief work shifts M - F 8-4
+ 27,000

35000
32000
27000
----------
94,000 savings and no major cuts wow that was hard.
Bobby Budget

New Hartford, NY

#3 Apr 9, 2014
Lease out the golf course to company to run and maintain it

120,000 cut from the budget
Bobby Budget

New Hartford, NY

#4 Apr 9, 2014
Give Vets field to the school, or close it

82,000 in savings
Bobby Budget

New Hartford, NY

#5 Apr 9, 2014
Well I just don't know where they could save any money... Your a retard Dave

Since: Apr 14

Little Falls, NY

#6 Apr 9, 2014
Excellent questions.

Here are a few more: You are a member of the council. Why were you not aware of these budgetary problems prior to just a couple of weeks before the budget vote? Why do you not know the answers to all of your above questions? Did you or anyone else in city government give a single thought to the fact that there are apparently no fiscal controls or oversight whatsoever? Has anyone in city government *ever* bothered to look into any of these fiscal issues and made any attempt to work out a PLAN? OF ANY SORT?

I mean, it is wonderful that you are now looking into what the city spends on streetlights and all, but don't most jurisdictions have plans on the books for changes and improvements at contract expiry? Don't most jurisdictions actually know WHO owns WHAT equipment and WHO is the contractor and WHEN the contract is due for renewal? These are simple, day-to-day duties of local government. It should not be a big, huge surprise but something that is planned for ahead of time. All city contracts *should* be on file for all departments, and should be a matter of public record. This is standard governance 101. All city equipment *should* be easily accounted for and its status as owned or leased known without doubt. All contract negotiations should be well thought out in advance, with new contractors studied and sought out for bids to keep the budget in check.

Why in the heck don't we know until a week before or even after the fact where our money is going and how we are using it?
Colonel Angus

Little Falls, NY

#7 Apr 9, 2014
Celtic Cat wrote:
Excellent questions.
Here are a few more: You are a member of the council. Why were you not aware of these budgetary problems prior to just a couple of weeks before the budget vote? Why do you not know the answers to all of your above questions? Did you or anyone else in city government give a single thought to the fact that there are apparently no fiscal controls or oversight whatsoever? Has anyone in city government *ever* bothered to look into any of these fiscal issues and made any attempt to work out a PLAN? OF ANY SORT?
I mean, it is wonderful that you are now looking into what the city spends on streetlights and all, but don't most jurisdictions have plans on the books for changes and improvements at contract expiry? Don't most jurisdictions actually know WHO owns WHAT equipment and WHO is the contractor and WHEN the contract is due for renewal? These are simple, day-to-day duties of local government. It should not be a big, huge surprise but something that is planned for ahead of time. All city contracts *should* be on file for all departments, and should be a matter of public record. This is standard governance 101. All city equipment *should* be easily accounted for and its status as owned or leased known without doubt. All contract negotiations should be well thought out in advance, with new contractors studied and sought out for bids to keep the budget in check.
Why in the heck don't we know until a week before or even after the fact where our money is going and how we are using it?
Are you implying that we actually know more this week than last with these arbitrary figures? It is all still a fairy tale, my child.
LFer

Herkimer, NY

#8 Apr 9, 2014
Celtic Cat wrote:
Excellent questions.
Here are a few more: You are a member of the council. Why were you not aware of these budgetary problems prior to just a couple of weeks before the budget vote? Why do you not know the answers to all of your above questions? Did you or anyone else in city government give a single thought to the fact that there are apparently no fiscal controls or oversight whatsoever? Has anyone in city government *ever* bothered to look into any of these fiscal issues and made any attempt to work out a PLAN? OF ANY SORT?
I mean, it is wonderful that you are now looking into what the city spends on streetlights and all, but don't most jurisdictions have plans on the books for changes and improvements at contract expiry? Don't most jurisdictions actually know WHO owns WHAT equipment and WHO is the contractor and WHEN the contract is due for renewal? These are simple, day-to-day duties of local government. It should not be a big, huge surprise but something that is planned for ahead of time. All city contracts *should* be on file for all departments, and should be a matter of public record. This is standard governance 101. All city equipment *should* be easily accounted for and its status as owned or leased known without doubt. All contract negotiations should be well thought out in advance, with new contractors studied and sought out for bids to keep the budget in check.
Why in the heck don't we know until a week before or even after the fact where our money is going and how we are using it?
In a strong-mayor city, the council's role is to wield the rubber-stamp. Unfortunately that system fails when the mayor and the departmental chiefs are unable or unwilling to confront economic reality. They will wear you down and bully you into agreement, just like they wore down Dan and Betty. We are doomed.
duh

Little Falls, NY

#9 Apr 9, 2014
Fire Palmer, eighty grand gone!! I think you have to negotiate the contracts before voting on the budget, how else do you figure in the increase. I believe that is the standard.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#10 Apr 9, 2014
Bobby Budget wrote:
Well Dave, a moron could bring your budget down 80,000.
Eliminate the cleaner in city hall non essential position + 35,000
Eliminate the dispatcher in the PD who doesn't dispatch + 32,000
Have the Fire Chief work shifts M - F 8-4
+ 27,000
35000
32000
27000
----------
94,000 savings and no major cuts wow that was hard.
I suggested reducing the number of firemen on duty at the station from 3 to 2. Possible Savings: 100 grand. This idea was ignored. The Chief of Police told me in a meeting that if his budget is reduced he would be forced to cut the police presence at the school. I suggested that this be considered. Savings: approx. 30 grand. This was ignored. If the Budget Committee finds your suggestions listed above as acceptable, no problem.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#11 Apr 9, 2014
Celtic Cat wrote:
Excellent questions.
Here are a few more: You are a member of the council. Why were you not aware of these budgetary problems prior to just a couple of weeks before the budget vote? Why do you not know the answers to all of your above questions? Did you or anyone else in city government give a single thought to the fact that there are apparently no fiscal controls or oversight whatsoever? Has anyone in city government *ever* bothered to look into any of these fiscal issues and made any attempt to work out a PLAN? OF ANY SORT?
I mean, it is wonderful that you are now looking into what the city spends on streetlights and all, but don't most jurisdictions have plans on the books for changes and improvements at contract expiry? Don't most jurisdictions actually know WHO owns WHAT equipment and WHO is the contractor and WHEN the contract is due for renewal? These are simple, day-to-day duties of local government. It should not be a big, huge surprise but something that is planned for ahead of time. All city contracts *should* be on file for all departments, and should be a matter of public record. This is standard governance 101. All city equipment *should* be easily accounted for and its status as owned or leased known without doubt. All contract negotiations should be well thought out in advance, with new contractors studied and sought out for bids to keep the budget in check.
Why in the heck don't we know until a week before or even after the fact where our money is going and how we are using it?
Let's get back to the problem at hand. The Budget Committee, specifically Jeff Gressler made a challenge to anyone who could point to specific ways the Budget could be changed to bring it under the Cap. So far, those suggestions have been ignored.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#12 Apr 9, 2014
LFer wrote:
<quoted text>
In a strong-mayor city, the council's role is to wield the rubber-stamp. Unfortunately that system fails when the mayor and the departmental chiefs are unable or unwilling to confront economic reality. They will wear you down and bully you into agreement, just like they wore down Dan and Betty. We are doomed.
Betty has not been "worn down". She told me at the Meeting on Tuesday evening that she would be voting NO on the Budget, even if it means she would be the only one doing so.
Suggestions

Herkimer, NY

#13 Apr 9, 2014
HawaiiStyleDave wrote:
<quoted text> Let's get back to the problem at hand. The Budget Committee, specifically Jeff Gressler made a challenge to anyone who could point to specific ways the Budget could be changed to bring it under the Cap. So far, those suggestions have been ignored.
1. Get a cheaper medical plan for city employees.

2. Stop financing with BANs, the interest is killing the city. Use better cash management.

3. Stop paying real estate taxes to other municipalities for the water shed ... use the city lawyer and get that land on the exempt rolls.

Since: Apr 14

Little Falls, NY

#14 Apr 9, 2014
HawaiiStyleDave wrote:
<quoted text> I suggested reducing the number of firemen on duty at the station from 3 to 2. Possible Savings: 100 grand. This idea was ignored. The Chief of Police told me in a meeting that if his budget is reduced he would be forced to cut the police presence at the school. I suggested that this be considered. Savings: approx. 30 grand. This was ignored. If the Budget Committee finds your suggestions listed above as acceptable, no problem.
In my experience, proposed budget reductions are generally made in writing with impact statements and work-arounds outlined. So when proposing a reduction in staff for fire personnel, one would need to show statistics of several years of city fire history separated by time of day and personnel utilized on scene with notation of cost per/man per/hour including benefits and training if applicable, show how the reduction can be made at limited impact due to seniority or time of day or part-time vs. full-time etc. You can't just suggest cutting the staff without statistics to show that it makes fiscal sense. Cost of service vs. risk of adverse event. Adverse event being lawsuit, loss of life, etc.

If someone wants to *increase* a budget item, that is the same principle. Stats and reports must be used to show the increased cost will benefit the tax base in some substantial way, such as increased income (for instance upgrade stadium (for which need would have to be actual and demonstrated by FACTS) from 100 to 200 seats @ 3 games per/week @$15 per/seat = 300x$15/per week average). There should be NO budget increase without such a factual and demonstrated by studies and statistics need.

The police presence at the school....is this at the elementary school? At the high school? Are there incidence reports at the school in question that school personnel cannot handle internally without undue danger to themselves or the students? Is this just a PR thing..."Your community friend Officer Happy Face is here at your school!", or is it necessary for safety? Officer Happy Face probably isn't a good expenditure in tough times.

The point is that you don't just come up with stuff off the top of your head, either increase or decrease. It has to be studied. It has to be documented. You have to cover all your bases and know what the hell you are talking about so it doesn't bite you in the ass down the road when you have no idea who owns your light poles and what you have to pay to get the bulbs changed.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#15 Apr 9, 2014
Suggestions wrote:
<quoted text>
1. Get a cheaper medical plan for city employees.
2. Stop financing with BANs, the interest is killing the city. Use better cash management.
3. Stop paying real estate taxes to other municipalities for the water shed ... use the city lawyer and get that land on the exempt rolls.
All good suggestions. However I was not involved with contract negotiations with any City employees. It does not mean that "cheaper" medical plan should not be found, it just will not impact the impending Budget on tues
More

Syracuse, NY

#16 Apr 9, 2014
Suggestions wrote:
<quoted text>
1. Get a cheaper medical plan for city employees.
2. Stop financing with BANs, the interest is killing the city. Use better cash management.
3. Stop paying real estate taxes to other municipalities for the water shed ... use the city lawyer and get that land on the exempt rolls.
Get a cheaper medical plan for city employees or have employees contribute more toward the premium.
Eliminate the 800.00 clothing allowance for non-elected employees.
Consolidate clerks from 6 to 4 with shared services between offices.
Eliminate renting office equipment and purchase instead.
Purchase one copy machine for all depts instead of each have their own and paying service agreement on each.
Buy fans and eliminate the air conditioners at city hall and sewer plant.

Since: Apr 14

Little Falls, NY

#17 Apr 9, 2014
HawaiiStyleDave wrote:
<quoted text> Let's get back to the problem at hand. The Budget Committee, specifically Jeff Gressler made a challenge to anyone who could point to specific ways the Budget could be changed to bring it under the Cap. So far, those suggestions have been ignored.
Nice deflection. The lack of fiscal controls or adequate oversight IS the PROBLEM AT HAND. If there had been any actual planning, you wouldn't be scrambling to come up with off-the-cuff budget ideas at the last minute.

Here's a budget cut suggestion: Do some planning, use standard accounting procedures, have your contracts and equipment filed properly and on an automatic pre-renewal schedule and you won't have to hire outside consultants to figure out where the missing money is and who actually owns the city infrastructure. Put your contracts out for bid to outside contractors on schedule for possible price reductions and/or service improvements.

As an incentive for better planning in the future, hold to the budget cap and let the chips fall where they may. I bet that will motivate both government responsibility and taxpayer involvement for next year's budget and going forward from there.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#18 Apr 9, 2014
Bobby Budget wrote:
Well Dave, a moron could bring your budget down 80,000.
Eliminate the cleaner in city hall non essential position + 35,000
Eliminate the dispatcher in the PD who doesn't dispatch + 32,000
Have the Fire Chief work shifts M - F 8-4
+ 27,000
35000
32000
27000
----------
94,000 savings and no major cuts wow that was hard.
Wow, you are right, that was not hard at all , relay these suggestions to the Budget Committee of Gressler, Ruffing, and Gevery please. I dare you.

Since: Feb 13

Location hidden

#19 Apr 9, 2014
Celtic Cat wrote:
<quoted text>
Nice deflection. The lack of fiscal controls or adequate oversight IS the PROBLEM AT HAND. If there had been any actual planning, you wouldn't be scrambling to come up with off-the-cuff budget ideas at the last minute.
Here's a budget cut suggestion: Do some planning, use standard accounting procedures, have your contracts and equipment filed properly and on an automatic pre-renewal schedule and you won't have to hire outside consultants to figure out where the missing money is and who actually owns the city infrastructure. Put your contracts out for bid to outside contractors on schedule for possible price reductions and/or service improvements.
As an incentive for better planning in the future, hold to the budget cap and let the chips fall where they may. I bet that will motivate both government responsibility and taxpayer involvement for next year's budget and going forward from there.
Holding to the budget cap is fine. However it is the Budget Committee that crafts and presents a Budget. Not only that, asks for suggestions for further reductions, and then ignores those suggestions. The Budget is due on Tuesday.
Sam Hill

Little Falls, NY

#20 Apr 9, 2014
Celtic Cat for Mayor. Celtic Cat replace Toe. Give Celtic Cat a microphone at the next meeting. My god the man's intelligence and common sense is a breath of fresh air on Topix. If only it could be a breath of fresh air in City Government.

Reading his posts just shows how woefully unequipped the people we do have running this place truly are.

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