Presentation to Commission on 2007-2008 City Budget (3)

I respectfully recommend that the City Commission undertake the following urgent measures:

  • Approve a millage rate of 5.000.

  • Instruct management to prepare and implement an urgent plan to consolidate departments and units, reduce staff numbers, hold the line on salaries and benefits and reorganize critical departments such as Building and Zoning.

  • The Commission should conduct in depth quarterly public workshops and hearings on the 2007-2008 budget execution based on well defined benchmarks for management.

  • Start now to create a clear vision for next year’s budget so that further reductions can be made a year from now without further delay.

We together–city government, residents and businesses–will be facing “years of scarcity” and it is urgent that the Commission and management take steps to substantially cut current and future city spending. This will send a message to our citizens, businesses and city government staff that the time of taxing and spending is over. Now is the time to change the culture of spending and taxing of our Coral Gables government.

We have heard an appeal to protect the “quality of life” in Coral Gables and this a respectable goal. Hopefully, “quality of life” is not a metaphor for more government spending. A better metaphor for quality of life might be a “program for times of scarcity” benefiting us all.

What we need is a budget that fits these “times of scarcity” and not “times of abundance”.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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