Best of the Web: City surplus
March 21, 2010
■ Are they seriously talking bonuses? UNREAL!!!!!
How about putting it into marketing in hopes of increasing revenue, then we can discuss bonuses.
■ It is hard to say we are talking about bonuses, per se. Through the furlough and eliminating all merit pay and cost of living increases the city was able to save close to $1.7M from the 2009 budget. The city of Steamboat, unlike many other Colorado municipalities, put the brakes on spending very, very quickly as the recession hit. City Council insisted on a balanced budget for 2009, with NO DEFICIT SPENDING! City Council also insisted that our finance department reduce its forecasted revenue by 20 percent for 2009 over 2008 where the initial predictions were for a 4 percent decline. As a result, city staff cut expenditures throughout all departments, and at the end of 2009 we have very healthy reserves and ended up with an unexpected surplus. $1.7M of our savings came directly out of the pockets of our city staff, and we were talking about backfilling less than 15 percent of that amount. The furlough program is still in place, and the merit pay program is not budgeted for this year either. I believe we have been exceptionally careful with every taxpayer dollar, and very mindful of the fact that we are still facing an economy in decline.
■ I agree the city has done a good job in managing the crisis. Unfortunately, it still appears that we are not yet at the bottom and that sales tax revenue will continue to decrease, so waiting seems prudent. Why wouldn't you eliminate the furloughs (thus restoring services to the taxpayer) before you increase pay?
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School budget cuts
Interestingly enough I cannot see any evidence of administrative cuts in personnel.
The easiest and most cost effective cuts are those at the top. These mission inessential cuts should be made first.
The last cuts to be made should be in the classroom, where the education process really takes place. Mission essential personnel.
It is always cowardly to cut janitors while not touching administrators. Of course, the janitors are not in charge of the cutting.
The board should do some basic financial analysis and see what percentage of total personnel expense the administration is and cut proportionately.
Once these cuts are made, then everybody should take a 5 percent across the board pay cut. The pain has to be felt by everybody.
Loss of Carol Fox
■ What a wonderful human being. I'm very sad today.
■ Carol was always ready with a smile and a kind word, not to mention a cold beer after volunteer days in the Botanic Park. It was privilege to know her.
According to some quick Internet research, the odds of picking a perfect NCAA bracket (63 games) is estimated to be 1 in 150 billion. This statistic favors higher seeds over lower seeds, otherwise, the odds are even worse: 1 in 2^63. Last year, I finished third from the bottom in my pool, and I finally figured out what I did wrong: I picked the wrong teams to win.
Steamboat 700 vote
■ The smart people have spoken! Those that care about our valley and the people that live here all year do not want to see it turned into a major city of industrialization. The time we spend here is precious and somewhat limited, but the reason that we come here is because of what it is and not because of what some want to change it into. We have seen many times and heard many people, while obviously visiting, say, "We would move here if only you had —–". That is the problem. People come here because they like what they see, move here, and then almost immediately try to change our county to be like where they moved FROM. I feel the majority spoke their heart by voting no to 700! They said and I agree, LEAVE OUR VALLEY ALONE!! Join us, but leave your ideas where you came from.
■ Defeating SB700 is not going to stop people wanting to move here, but with constrained land supplies, there's only one direction housing prices can go.
You can't vote to prevent the city from expanding and then complain about the lack of affordable housing, or want to load every possible city infrastructure cost on to the developer and then complain that his affordable housing plan is not affordable enough (or worse, that he's offering affordable housing but the lots aren't big enough) — well you can, but you're shouting at the wind. No matter how many votes you get, you can't repeal the laws of economics.
In anticipation of the ad hominem attacks — I have no connection to the real estate industry. From a selfish perspective it suits me to stop growth. My house is worth more and, yes, like everyone else who lives here, I like it the way it is.