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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Let's Really Talk About the City Budget

TaxTax (Photo credit: 401K)Last night in City Council I expressed my disappointment that when asked for city management to bring to council suggested "revenue ideas" -- all that was presented were taxes, and taxes, and taxes.

See Press Telegram story. Click here.

As I stated last night --there are a number of ways to balance the city's budget that do not include raising taxes. I read off a list of suggestions from the Government Finance Officers Association -- which was prepared to help all cities across the US who are facing financial uncertainty.

See Fiscal First Aid list from Government Finance Officers. 

I also read off a list of items I had found doing research on other cities:
  • Offer city facilities to rent out for cellphone towers -- Chula Vista is getting $500,000
  • Reduce recycling to 2 x a month -- Sacramento is saving $1 million a month
  • Offer a paramedic subscription program that will save residents the cost of their insurance or Medicare copay when billed for these services -- Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Orange, Fullerton, etc. all offer this program which brings in @ $250,000 annually
  • Do an audit of our health care insurance program to eliminate people who are not eligible for coverage but remain on the health care plan and eliminate dual coverage -- if employees have coverage under another health care plan then they should not receive coverage from the City of Long Beach
  • Audit workers compensation injuries and determine how they can be prevented
  • Implement an automated time and attendance system so the city knows who is at work every day, how long they work, and when they take sick and vacation leave -- right now all 4000 plus city employees are tracked manually using 12 full time clerks
  • Charge the 41,465 non residents who use our libraries $24 for a library card. $24 is the per capita expenditure residents pay in taxes for library services.
  • Consolidate the Fire and Police Administrative Headquarters. The City currently spends $104,000 a MONTH ($1.2 million a year) to house a couple of helicopters and 54 Fire Department management. Bring them downtown and rent hangar space for the helicopters. Use that $1.2 million a year (or $38 million for the current 32 year lease) to staff fire stations properly.
We will be talking more throughout the year as we get into budget talks. I will be hosting a series of "Let's Get Real" virtual townhalls to talk about fixing what ails us in Long Beach.
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