Lynchburg City Budget: Did You Know?
"It's all about priorities. Right now, council members are in the position of defending theirs."
This comment was made in an Channel 13 News Broadcast, I encourage you to see the eVideo and read their article. This is what members of the Lynchburg city council are saying about the new budget and it should raise your eyebrows:
Mike Gillette, City Council - "Actually, you should be proud of the fact that the city staff is working very hard to cut the budget. This budget is an excellent budget."
Really Mike, I am not so sure about that, personally I think the City Council is falling down on the job. Does the Planning commission really need Blackberries? And do they need to spend 2,500 dollars each year on courtesies for guests? Just who are these guests and why do we have to spend lavishly to entertain them?
Bert Dodson, City Council - "By rearranging responsibilities and moving different people in departments, it's very cost effective."
Come on Bert, your idea of cost effective rates a mention in "Ripley's Believe It or Not." Can you tell me why the biggest item in the City Planning Commission beside salaries is miscellaneous? What are these miscellaneous funds and do you not think the city should provide an accounting for an 86,000 dollar slush fund?
Mayor Carl Hutcherson, Jr., Lynchburg - "People sometimes think that city council doesn't listen, and the administration doesn't listen. But we do listen."
Now Carl, are you listening now? I do not know who you are listening to, but it is not to us. If you doubt that city council is listening, try to send them an email. Chances are you will find your email reaches the round file, I think its called the trash can. Oh, and could you tell me what does the city planning council advertise and why do they need to spend 3,500 a year on advertisements? Do they have a certain kind of chewing gum they are promoting?
Gillette - "Anyone who wants to argue that there's a tremendous amount of waste in city spending obviously has not done their homework. They have not read the budget."
Again Mike, I have been reading the proposed budget. And it should raise your eyebrows as much as mine. If the city is crying they are tapped out, why does the planning commission need to spend 17,605 dollars on training and conferences? Yes Mike, I have worked for the government and I know training and conferences are another guise for it is time to go party. Where is the knife to cut this excess?
Mayor Hutcherson - "Five years from now, six years from now, 10 years from now, people are going to see the positive way in which city council responded."
Well Carl, the legacy I see is a group of council members who do not know how to use a red pen. And why can not the 86,000 dollars in miscellaneous be itemized? That is over 7,166 a month the planning commission is spending,and that is not a paperclip matter. 27,128 dollars a year are spent on supplies and materials.
I have only looked at one part of the budget; the budget of the planning commission. You can find the proposed budget here. I challenge all our local readers to read the budget and post your observations. Our city government needs to go on a diet, and get their priorities straight. And they need to account for how they are spending your tax money. 86,000 dollars in a miscellaneous fund should make you uneasy, and the City Council should get out their red pen.