Since the Newspaper hasn’t really dedicated much space when it comes to the City Budget (aside from 2 stories that were clearly positive for the administration) and no one else seems to care one way or another, I figure I have nothing to lose providing my opinion to the City Council (Not that they will listen but no one can say I didn’t look at it and make comments).
1) PLEASE if nothing else, get a detailed explanation that involves solid facts and even a letter from the State GIC stating that the City of Lowell Administration is correct and the city’s cost is REDUCED by $225,000 when the GIC like most of us have seen cost increases.
I’ve whack the Manager for not showing savings like the former administration did in many areas. Don’t let him show savings that MIGHT happen but are not guaranteed, in the long range as we have seen it hurts the city.
2) Ask to see numbers that show sick leave use is going down. Otherwise, why are we increasing the Sick Leave buyback by $500,000? Can we use that instead for raises in the next budget? Will it really be needed to cover health care cost?
3) Last year the Council said NOTHING but positive things when the Manager hired Bob Healy as ac “consultant” and let the Manager create a 3rd Asst. City Manager position without asking a question of what those responsibilities would be.
WE ALREADY have an Asst. City Manager / Commissioner for the DPW – Ralph Snow, along with a DPW, LANDS & BUILDINGS DEPUTY COMMISSIONER James Green, a DPW STREETS DEPUTY COMMISSIONER ED PATENAUDE ,a Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Tom Bellgarde along with City Engineer Lisa DeMeo all in the DPW ! Why do we need another Deputy Commissioner ?
In Fact with a CFO – Treasurer , Auditor , Asst City Auditor and Asst. City Treasurer along with Office Managers in the DPW, why do we keep adding financial / managerial staff instead of adding laborers to do the work?
It is time to just say NO and make the Manager and the finance team we have in place manage. Previous Managers didn’t have 3 Asst. Managers a CFO and the financial team including a highly respected and compensated former City Manager on staff. ENOUGH 0 Fund this position!
After that, leave the budget intact. For whatever reason, the administration believes there will be no increase in the cost of heat, electricity, stationery supplies, paper etc. this budget is very night for the departments and very conservative on some of the projected expenses.
Revenues are always (or have been in the past) conservative but even here there are questions. The budget is tight and like it or not you will have city Unions up for new contracts and the $200,00 Salary Reserve will not cover much.
Cut that 1 position, ask about the need to raise the sick leave incentive by half a million, get confirmation of the supposed savings in Health care but leave mostly everything else in tact and approve the budget. The city needs to have some funds to move around and use as needs come up.