Wednesday, September 03, 2014

City 2014-2015 Budget Surprises

City Council removed the 2014-15 budget from the consent agenda.  I found the following Council observations interesting.
City engineering has gone down

The city's resources in both engineering and water engineering are depleted.  If the city is budgeting for less people, expect lots more consulting arrangements at multiples of the cost.  Remaining engineering staff are overwhelmed and lengthy delays are costing the city huge amounts.  The PaulAnn Street extension rose $250,000 or 50%.  That's for a project with a third less street surface.  City Engineer Ryan Ward said the majority of the increase is for materials. 

What does a 50% materials increase do to City Manager Daniel Valenzuela's street plan?  It turns an eight year plan into a twelve year plan, which is where the city started.  

Master developer will be carried over if project is not complete September 30

The city knows this project will not be completed this month.  Council recently approved Phase 2 of Downtown Master Development.   In addition most city leaders know the employment of a master developer is contractual requirement.

Maintenance has not gone up.  The City needs to do preventive maintenance.

The city is contracting out nearly every maintenance trade.  Staff made no comments on the city's strategies for maintenance.  No one on City Council asked why the city recently issued numerous RFP's for maintenance.

Training and travel is ample for City Council and top City leaders.  It's lacking for other departments in city government.
The city lacks an organization wide education and training plan.  Funds are available for top leaders, staff and elected.  The message is lower level people don't need to keep up to date.

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