Saturday, April 28, 2012

Commentary On City Budget

This is an opinion piece submitted by Dan Penney

To the editor:

I applaud the Mayor, Staff and the Common Council members for there joint efforts in bringing forward a well thought out City budget during these most difficult fiscal times. Our city from Main Street to the most remote areas, including Westfield and South Farms, has never been more focused on a positive new direction. The revised energy management cost reduction plans and improved BOE working relationships speak for themselves.

A special Kudos for the Department Directors of our city services who best understand their respective operational needs and the always present and difficult balance of limited fiscal resources.

Unfortunately, our state, cities and towns have never been more pressed to achieve positive outcomes with fewer resources. Certainly one only needs to acknowledge the stalled economy which, at best, may only realize a 1½ - 2 % growth rate going forward.

We can no longer attempt to address and balance such challenges with the past practices of increasing taxes to accommodate more spending, especially on the backs of our residents. Along these lines of fiscal management, I offer for your consideration the proven concept of SHARED SERVICES.

There are endless opportunities for cost reduction relative to duplicate administrative and operating equipment expenses, that if shared between the City and the South Fire District could effect a tax reduction not only for the residents of our tax district but also for the city taxpayers. At present and in addition to the proposed city tax hike, resident of the South Fire District are being asked to approve a budget with increased spending and the resulting increased tax rate.

The old days of increased taxes to accommodate needless spending should be long behind us. Times are most difficult for homeowners, renters and small businesses. I encourage the Common Council and also ask for your help to aggressively revisit such opportunities and hopefully effect tax relief throughout the entire city. Such tax relief could be achieved in a manner that would not negatively impact labor or critical services being provided by our dedicated and hard working Firefighters throughout Middletown. Such efforts may also free up other resources to better fund BOE critical needs for the benefit of our children.

Management solutions that address both administrative and support equipment duplications provide a win-win for all!

Dan Penney, Middletown


Anonymous said...

Speaking of redundancies, Could someone please explain why "it's the law" that:

1. emergency vehicles, firetrucks and fighters in full garb with all equipment respond every time to 911 ambulance calls?

2. firetrucks keep engines running whenever they are not in their station?

3. assisted living and nursing homes are not billed for ambulance services?

4. auto insurance companies are not billed for traffic accidents?

4. there isn't a triage system for "emergency" calls BEFORE the full responses described above?

Wm Wallace said...

Yes great job with the two mill tax increase. I know all those who pay taxes in town will be thrilled with the increase come July.

Sorry I don't share your joy of my taxes increasing for the same services we have now.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:why don't you ask the firefighters?

Anonymous said...

To anonymous of 10:16, here's why.

1. Firefighters in full garb to medical calls? Full garb? What's that mean? You mean professionally dressed in uniform to assist your family in their time of crisis? Being one who's needed the service I'm glad they were there fast while we waited for an ambulance.

2. Fire trucks running while out of station conserves fuel. The start up of a diesel wastes more fuel. This isn't a car, so don't treat it as one. It's an emergency vehicle which needs to be ready to respond.

3. You probably don't bill the facility because they are not the ones needed the assistance. It's the residents. You know, the people who are sick. Forget the next excuse, medical staff at these places are not EMS trained.

4. Auto insurance companies are not billed. because there is no structure to bill them. Speak to your state and federal legislators.

5. There is a triage system, it's called emergency medical dispatch. Something you have never witnessed which means that's a good thing you didn't need the services. All set up by the medical professionals by the way. Maybe you can become trained and educated in that field to offer ways to reduce the footprint.

6. People always question services they don't need, especially the ones they perceive no use for. However by reading the post you have never needed it. That's a great thing. I'm certain if you needed them, they would be there.

7. All city fire services have commissions to answer any and all questions residents pose to them.

8. It's not the law that public safety be required. All communities which value quality of life provide these types of services. Middletown has chosen to be a very safe community in which to raise a family. That's why I chose to live here and raise my family!