Budget Task Force News

Several months ago, I met with Finance Director Stewart Taylor to suggest an idea I had been thinking about for some time.   We face unprecedented financial challenges in the coming months, and I believe there is great benefit in seeking advice about how to conserve from people who know our organization best.  I asked Stewart to lead a budget task force that would discuss our situation and seek ways to address it.

The Budget Task Force was formed with the goal of hearing new ideas; helping to spread accurate information about our circumstances throughout the organization; and producing a better budget proposal for policy makers.  Employees were invited to participate in the Task Force by directors, who were simply asked to provide representatives from their departments.  The Task Force is comprised of:

Ben Atchley, Police Mike Hamann, IT Marilyn Smith, City Manager’s Office
John Bradner, Fire Peter Harr, Engineering Angie Sousa, Operations
Pete Brandstetter, IT Joel Heenan, Building Stewart Taylor, Finance
Norma Daily, Police Kristin Johns, Building Marcia Timm, Library
Mary Dibble, Finance Katie Nooshazar, Parks & Rec Shane Wooton, Fire
Danny Halsey, Operations David Shaw, HR Diane Wood, Finance

The Task Force meets every two weeks.  The agendas, meeting handouts, and notes are posted on the Intranet under Finance/Budget Task Force, or you can click here:  Budget Task Force.  All employees are encouraged to participate in the survey, review materials on the Intranet, and share their thoughts with members of the budget task force.

The next meeting date is Tuesday, December 1; and the final meeting date is Tuesday, December 15.

I believe we have the capacity and resources to sustain services and jobs during some difficult economic times, but we cannot do so by continuing to spend at current levels.  We have already made some significant reductions by not filling vacant positions and by cutting contributions to several reserve funds.  We will need to do more in the coming budget year.

I do not expect our Task Force to magically solve the City’s financial problems.  I do expect the group to make an important contribution to the focus and discipline that will be required to minimize the negative effects of flat or declining revenues.  I have been encouraged by the group’s work to date and hope that all employees will take a moment to talk with a representative from their department.

My last blog focused on counting my blessings.  A budget task force may seem like a small blessing, but I’m grateful we have people who are willing to work together to seek solutions before a crisis compels a reaction rather than the implementation of a thoughtful plan.