City’s $565,000 Consultant Recommends No Expenses Cuts for 2019 Budget

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City Council’s Budgetary & Fiscal Affairs Committee will meet this afternoon at 3:00 to consider the recommendations for next year’s budget from the consultant that we paid $565,000 to develop a 10-year financial plan.  Incredibly, the consultant was unable to come up with a single recommendation to reduce the City’s expenditures in the next budget. Let me repeat that: the consultant that we paid $565,000 is recommending zero expense reductions for the City in the upcoming budget.

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The seven recommendations that will affect the 2019-2020 budget are outlined in a PowerPoint presentation that will be presented to the BFA committee this afternoon. Two of their recommendations actually increase expenses. Two involve trying to wring more money out of false alarm and EMS fees. This is the umpteenth time a recommendation has been made to enhance false alarm and EMS revenue.

Two propose budgeting changes that the consultant believes will result in savings of $1-2 million, but do not involve any actual cuts. The consultant projects that net effect of these six recommendations will fall in a range of increasing next year’s deficit by $3 million to reducing it by $4 million. In other words, six of the seven recommendations are likely to have no impact on the 2019 budget deficit.

And that’s it, folks. This would be comical if it were not so serious. Our City is facing, at least, a $2 billion structural deficit over the next ten years. Beyond that things get worse when the bill comes due for the kick-can-down-road pension plan adopted last year. And the best we can do in the next budget is transfer $13 million between funds?
So, here’s my recommendation for the BFA Committee this afternoon. Fire the $565,000 consultant, demand our money back and use it to hire eight new police officers. It’s not much, but, hey, it didn’t cost you $565,000.
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