Sunday, August 28, 2011

City Wants to Dump Services to Nonprofits

San Angelo's City Council set priorities in their June 28 meeting.  Unfortunately, the meeting wasn't aired on Channel 17, thus city employees and retirees missed council's budgeting no increased funds for health insurance .  Elected leaders prioritized reducing operating expenses and steering savings to capital projects.  Minutes from the meeting state:

City Council suggested the following: taking lower tiered programs, non-public safety involved, e.g. parks and recreation, pulling facilities off line to maintain other facility improvements and recently approved projects; privatization of facilities and programs; reallocating recreation monies, e.g. partnering with school district to utilize their park areas, expending a one-time expenditure for equipment and schools maintain; salary savings for reorganization, and reducing to 4/10 work week. Once the changes and financial savings are determined, such savings may used for street reconstruction.
This isn't new given the decade long decimation of the City Health Department.  It's down to an Immunizations/Sexually Transmitted Diseases/ Tuberculosis Clinic and food permitting/inspections.  The City shed a Pediatric Clinic, AIDS Clinic, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, and Social Services. 

Next up for disposal to the private sector is Animal Services.  Anyone in discussion with the City, regarding taking over the Animal Shelter, should take their time evaluating any offers/commitments.  Harold needs to close deals before October 1, when the new budget year begins.

As for what they're taking over, here's a hint from the July 21 minutes of the City's Animal Service Board:

Susan – I was going to ask – on the statistics report – can we add a percentage? I think that would be helpful to know. That way we could have a goal to work toward

Julie – I honestly don’t know if our program can do that.
A manager doesn't keep reports showing volume and percentage changes?  That seems a basic managerial skill.  The City used to have it, when Harold was Assistant City Manager (click on the image to make it larger):

Any nonprofit group expecting long term funding from City Council should review the City's treatment of early retiree health coverage and Hickory Aquifer water fees.  This council reneged on promises made by their predecessors.  That could be the future for San Angelo's animal service community.

The City needs financial savings to lower taxes and build roads.

That comes on someone's back, given old plans aren't enough, once again. Texas Government Insider offered in January 2009:

Under the new plan, the city will issue about $13 million in bonds in October 2009, which will move the projects forward without increasing taxes, Dominguez said. In the past, the city issued a series of three six-year bond issues that expire every two years. Now the city will pay off those bonds over the next five years without renewing them. That revenue then will be directed into two city funds, a new capital fund to pay annually for road improvements and a second fund to pay for the bond issue for renovating the city hall and build the fire stations. The city's architect advised that doing the city hall renovations all at once rather than in phases could save as much as $1.74 million.

The City discussed getting more out of nonprofits in the June meeting, specifically through increased franchise fees.  How many ways can they tap nonprofits before the new budget year?

It remains to be seen.

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