Friday, April 30, 2010

Open Budgets

Mayor Flanagan is predicting that 2011 will be one of the toughest fiscal years Fall River has ever faced. I guess in an effort to have a more open process and let the people of Fall River weigh in, the Mayor is planning on having several public forums to gauge what people feel can be cut and what services people are willing to pay more for.

Well let me make some predication's on how this will go.

First I predict low turnout, although since we're talking about money I could be proved VERY wrong on that one. However, no matter who shows up here's the input I predict our mayor is going to receive.

1.       We need to fund public safety! People want to feel safe and protected and lately the local news has been filled with stories about crime and arson. They'll be calls to adequately fund our police and fire departments.

2.       We need to fund education! We all know that our school department has been plagued with problems and now they are looking at a 4 million dollar shortfall? They'll be calls to provide the school department with at least the funds to level fund.

3.       We need to fund the Department of Public Works! Has anyone driven down the street yet and NOT hit a pothole? Has your trash been picked up late or not at all? This stuff is all basic services that people expect and I'm sure there will be calls to make sure that the DPW receives no further cuts. There probably should be calls to restore funds already taken away!

4.       Cut administration! Cut the fat! Get rid of the waste! You better believe that this is probably going to be what the mayor hears the most! And let's be honest there certainly is some fat and some waste somewhere. The problem is people tend to view whatever they don't see as a direct need or benefit as waste. I doubt the Flanagan will get much useful input on this one.

5.       "I pay enough in taxes!" Mayor Flanagan will be told, improve public safety and DPW services and education BUT don't raise our taxes! NOBODY wants to pay more taxes and I think fearfully many of us can't AFFORD to pay more taxes. Certainly many of us are willing to pay a bit more for maintaining services, but I doubt that is a majority.
I applaud the concept of public input and open government but in the end Mayor Flanagan is going to have to make the tough decisions we 'hired' him to make. Those decisions will not only be tough but unpopular. People are not going to be happy to have services cut and they're not going to be happy to pay more. There are no easy answers.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Could you just delete the posts that are completely off topic Lefty?

I applaud the mayor's efforts to be more open but this mayor picks and chooses when he wants to be open and when it comes to hiring decisions like Shawn Cadime or Perry Long he has shown he doesn't mind keeping the door closed. Other times when he should just be a strong leader and make a decision like on the budget he pulls publicity stunts like these forums which make him look like a weak leader that is unprepared to make tough decisions and to stand by them.

It Said said...

Turnout depends on what day and time you hold the forums.

Fact is, its tough to compete against the Sox, Celtics and Bruins..pick an off night for all three franchises and attendence will be a little better than it might have been.

Hold forums at Durfee or BCC where people are at least able to park.


As to solutions? Place a prop 2 1/2 over ride and a local resturant meals tax on the ballot and see what happens..if the cash raised goes to what has been proposed..you might be surprised..or not..

Anonymous said...

The FROED contract is up May 9th and needs to pass the city council it is time to DEMAND a PUBLIC PERFORMANCE REVIEW/INPUT into the FROED/RDA from the the New Mayor and City Council : contact them.