Posts Tagged ‘Gilbert Arizona Budget’

Captain Rick: Councilmember Victor Petersen says Gilbert Arizona’s new budget represents a decrease in government efficiency by spending more tax dollars per citizen. The Town Council recently adopted a $466 million budget for FY14 that included a massive increase in employee compensation due to a new over-inflated pay structure and addition of several new $80,000 to $100,000 positions. The $12 million (12%) increase in general fund spending results in a spike in general fund costs of an average of $39 for each of Gilbert’s estimated 233,000 citizens and presents a 6% decrease in government efficiency.

The spreadsheet Victor presents below demonstrates this spike in costs. As an engineer, I examined its calculations and confirm they are accurate. The slope of the incline for the coming year closely resembles the incline experienced during the three reckless spending years leading up to the stock market crash and ‘Great Recession’. Considering the anemic condition of our economy, with GDP growth well below what is considered healthy, this new spending spree concerns me greatly. We can not afford another year or two of addition reckless spending. I applaud Victor for bringing this important information to our attention. I believe cities across America and beyond will be interested in the data Victor presents.

Victor was one of two councilmembers that voted ‘NO’ … against adoption of the budget as presented. This has earned him Captain Rick’s “PROPER VOTE” on ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL’s “Gilbert Council Scorecard”, which keeps track of how Gilbert Councilmembers vote on important, controversial issues.   

I invited Victor to present guest commentary on ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL concerning his vote on this important fiscal event. He graciously accepted. I am honored to present …

Guest Commentary

by

Victor Petersen

Councilmember, Gilbert, Arizona

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The latest budget adoption represents a decrease in government efficiency in Gilbert. One of our strategic initiatives is "High Performing Government," which is a worthy goal but our council has settled for less performance by spending significantly more tax dollars per citizen than in years past.

It is especially troubling that the data suggests that we are heading off in the same direction that lead to the demand for a tax increase which is represented in this graph by the bubble from FY 06 to FY 10.

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This data shows that the amount we are spending for ongoing costs per citizen are increasing significantly. It’s troubling that it appears to be heading off in the same direction we saw before the big push for a sales tax increase. The simple fact is that where spending leads taxes must follow. I fear the direction that has been taken will require correction just like the data shows happened for the tax push years and correction was and is a painful process.

The bottom line is that instead of getting more efficient by making each tax dollar work harder we are actually seeing the opposite trend. I believe we owe it to ourselves and the taxpayers to improve in governmental efficiency and raise the bar we have set.

It must be recognized that most of this ongoing increase is due to the massive increase in compensation passed by the council. While some increase was merited Councilmember Taylor and I proposed a lesser increase which would have put total compensation more inline with the market and saved millions per year.

I am all for progress when it means replacing something good with something better, but I am a conservative when it’s proposed to replace what’s best with something less. I want to conserve the successes of the past and build on them for greater successes in the future. I believe in the right of our citizen’s to expect and even demand this and I believe in our staff’s ability to achieve it. We have set the bar here in Gilbert in government efficiency and we are the only ones who can raise it. We owe it to our citizens and to ourselves to do it.

Victor Petersen

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Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Gilbert Council Scorecard

Previous Gilbert Council PROPER VOTE Reports

Gilbert Town Council Reports

Gilbert Arizona Reports

Captain Rick: Councilmember Jared Taylor says Gilbert, Arizona missed a great opportunity to continue a course of fiscal responsibility when the Council adopted the $466 million budget for FY14 that included the addition of several new $80,000 to $100,000 positions with no value added for the town’s 230,000 citizens.

Jared was one of two councilmembers that voted ‘NO’ … against adoption of the budget as presented. This has earned him Captain Rick’s “PROPER VOTE” on ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL’s “Gilbert Council Scorecard”, which keeps track of how Gilbert Councilmembers vote on important, controversial issues.

I invited Jared to present guest commentary on ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL concerning his vote on this important fiscal event. He graciously accepted. I am honored to present …

Guest Commentary

by

Jared Taylor

Councilmember, Gilbert, Arizona

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The Town budget discussion for 2014 was a great opportunity to continue a course of fiscal responsibility. The budget represents many things, particularly the priorities of an organization.

As I looked at the budget proposals for fiscal year 2014 (FY14), many positive things were included to build a safer cleaner community. However, there were also areas of concern which made the Town government less efficient and less valuable to our citizens. For example, Town Staff recommended a number of administrative positions that cost approximately $80,000-$100,000 annually for each position. These positions would add no direct value to the lives of our citizens.

The larger concern of this budget for me was the increased burden it places on each citizen without increasing the value of the Town services to each citizen. In other words, we are not getting new parks or services although we are paying more for what we get. This increased rate of spending outpaced inflation at a rate which created multi-million dollar deficits.

The recommendation to have the budget follow the rate of inflation was based on the wise advice by Councilmember Jenn Daniels to create a policy to guide this and future budgets. This policy would avoid Council from going through the details of the budget, but would give the Town Manager the direction and flexibility to manage the Town within responsible limits.

The primary argument to increase spending was to fully fund what is known as WIGs. (A.k.a. Wildly Important Goals) One of the major outcomes for the WIGs is for the Town to be more operationally efficient. Unfortunately, we are not becoming more efficient with this budget, but less efficient. Other concerns were presented that we are not able to find enough money to cut although those were quickly addressed.

In the end, a budget with too much spending was passed by a 5-2 vote. Further, this budget was not based on an agreed upon policy or a serious cost containment strategy. The FY14 budget’s rate of growth outpaces inflation and puts us on a path to run a deficit in 1-2 years. Any uptick in sales tax revenues will mask this for a few years, but when another downturn hits, we’ll be forced to make a decision to raise taxes or make drastic cuts again. The recommendation to follow the rate of inflation more effectively controls our spending and is more aligned with other costs hard-working taxpayers are facing day-to-day.

I’m committed to a small and efficient Town government. Our staff aspires to be a “high-performing government” on paper, but unfortunately doesn’t consistently follow high-performing practices of other organizations. We can do better and I’m looking forward to working with them more to understand ways to stay focused on adding value to our citizen’s lives.

Government should not be a jobs program. Government exists to protect individual rights. As Abraham Lincoln said 150 years ago, government should be “of the people, by the people, for the people” and our budgets should reflect this commitment. I will continue to work to make it so in Gilbert.

Jared Taylor

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I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Gilbert Council Scorecard

Previous Gilbert Council PROPER VOTE Reports

Gilbert Town Council Reports

Gilbert Arizona Reports