Coastal Voices: Thoughts on city budget

Written by Richard Miles June 03, 2011 05:54 pm

Regarding the May 26 article covering the second budget workshop (“City still looks for cutbacks; Labor negotiations could be reopened”), where was the general public? They were not at the workshop. Why?

Nor did you see any of the union groups for our city workers. Yes, the city should not go into the hole. Unlike past city councils that always kept cash reserves, we have seen how this council likes to spend our funds.

Here are some thoughts about the city budget situation:

I believe our mayor was wrong when he suggested turning over Eric Taylor’s position to the county. Maybe he should be suggesting that our city turn our detective position over to the county Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau. But my city is not looking at the kingdom that Police Chief Doug Plack has created since he was hired.

If my city is calling for layoffs these layoffs should be shared in all departments. Our city limits have not grown that much, but we have more police officers than we have street workers or park workers. I remember when Chief West was a working chief and you would see him working the streets, too.

Yes, the school resources officer should be fully funded by the school district. It should never have been created without a contract stating full funding. But that was another pet project of our chief. Also, how many dogs do we need? There should be no sacred dogs or cows.

Councilwoman Kathryn Murray was right in asking Councilwoman Donna Westfall if she is planning any more lawsuits. Currently, Ms. Westfall has three suits against the city. If Donna would drop those suits that would create a cost savings to the city this budget year.

Maybe Councilwoman Kelly Schellong should think about pulling out of Tri-Agency Economic Development Council.

If my city keeps believing the myth that the Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce bring more money into the city than Tri-Agency, why should we keep funding a man who can only claim one company to the city over how many years?

Also, it is time that the city starts thinking about selling off two of the city money pits it owns. Yes, the pool and the Cultural Center. We would not have to pay for a pool manager. Maybe the Chamber would finally look at moving to the harbor, where it should be.

Maybe my city workers should be asking why my city is funding a Wonder Bus that sits in the parking lot of the Family Resource Center. My thought is, if First Five and the school district cannot fund the operating costs of the bus, maybe my library district that holds the title should sell it and put that funding into the library’s budget.

Past councils gave funds to the library. A few years ago, they stopped this. So the library has become the little step-child that no one cares for.

The funding that my city is giving First Five could be spent on a  parks worker who could keep our downtown cleaner.

Maybe it’s time for my city to bring back the parking meters. There should be no sacred cows.

Richard Miles is a Crescent City resident.