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Paula Smith on City Budget
The budget is a priority. Many issues within our city may be solved if we become more fiscally conservative while making budgeting decisions. Fiscally conservative budget cuts do not include cuts to Public Safety. I will advocate for intelligent purchase options, for example, purchasing Police vehicles rather than leasing (as they did for the 13 vehicles in 2023).
We must adequately balance spending and prioritize public safety at the top of the list. Public Safety has received higher compensation with this past budget, but we still need increased compensation to retain and recruit. Income and spending for public safety must be prioritized higher.
I've been researching a few areas within the budget. Of course, my perspective is from the public side, so more information may require additional research to confirm my initial reactions. To be clear, I fully appreciate all the hard work everyone has put into the budget. My comments are not meant to come across as an attack but as constructive feedback to help us improve the overall outcome.
One example of a budget review is for the Communications and Marketing department, created in 2020. That is a $600k department having only three employees--and part of their job description is web development for the city--yet we are paying $85k for an outside service to create a website.
I'm eager to review the upcoming study examining different departments to determine if the city-run or private-sector options would result in savings. This study includes (if I'm not mistaken) fleet and golf (among other departments). The golf courses have been a loss every year. I love our golf courses, and I DO NOT want them "sold," I do, however, believe they can be run more efficiently to produce profits, rather than loss.
The Zion route--I would NOT have voted to approve this endeavor. This should have been a private sector-run business. Committing the taxpayers to a 10-year (likely loss-producing) business is not the proper role of the government.
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