Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hearings Done: What Next?

Last night, we held the third of our three public budget hearings, and like the others, it was an informative, emotional and difficult night. Thanks for all those who attended and spoke.

Where do we go from here? All three commissioners put forward their proposals as to how to get through this, and though there are differences, we all agreed on some basics. Over the next week, we will work to gain a consensus on a final budget.

For a link to all three of our motions, go to: http://www.hamiltoncountyohio.gov/administrator/bsi/budget.asp

For a good summary of the hearing, go to: http://www.wcpo.com/content/specials/2008/economy2008/story/Commissioners-Unveil-Budget-Ideas/ReqC7K0fF0a9bZlViM1fvw.cspx

As we make this decision, and weigh different ideas, I will be operating from and balancing the following principles:

- we must do what we can to reduce the impact of cuts on public safety, and other direct and critical services

- in making cuts and asking for steps such as furloughs, we must lead from the top

- if reforms/efficiencies are available that will minimize the need to cut from direct services, or minimize job cuts, we must pursue such reforms

- if there are responsible options that can reduce the number of (and high cost of) layoffs, we should pursue or encourage them

- we must learn from prior majorities' past mistakes, and not cut off our ability to grow our economy and revenues long-term, or we'll only face a worse predicament every year

- we must learn from prior majorities' mistakes, and not irresponsibly spend money we don't have

- we must learn from prior majorities' mistakes, and not make unrealistic assumptions about revenues or savings from our proposed cuts that allow us to get through the next week without making tough decisions but will have us back here in four months because our budget was based on phantom numbers

- we must learn from prior majorities' mistakes, and not drain the reserve fund on recurring, operating costs

- we must follow our legal mandates, and work within the statutory authority we are given

- we must hold the line on taxes at this difficult economic time, and we must learn from past majorities' mistakes and not spend money on an assumption that a future tax increase will pay for current spending

All these principles are important guideposts as we get through this tough time.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

David,
Are you thinking about going for another sales tax? Would a sales tax increase fund the building of a new jail and funding of current Hamilton County Police patrols in the townships you have mentioned?

I am sure other personal can be cut rather than the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department.

I voted for the sales tax proposals. I do not know why the people in Hamilton County voted against Phil Heimlich's quarter cent tax proposal. I also voted for the second sales tax proposed by Portune and yourself.

But...what turned so many people off was you were asking for , I thought, way too much to be spent for the castle/jail. I do not want to put the thugs in a 5 star hotel. Simply build a large safe jail to house those that belong there. The career criminals will not and do not want to be rehabilitated. Look out for your tax payers.

I and others were upset that after the first vote, you and Portune told us "you will pay the half cent tax. We have decided that this is the way it will be." This turned many people off and I would never vote for Portune. I believe he means well but is a bit of a loss cannon. Dewine was no help at all to Heimlich. Dewine is there because of his father. His father also proved to be worthless.

I have rambled on long enough but I think a sales tax increase is the fair way to spread the cost of running the County among all residents. But, do not build a hotel for a jail. Safe but bare bones.

Hamilton County patrols cannot be cut because crime is worse every year. You and I both know why this is but it looks to me that it only gets worse and will never turn itself around.

Understand, I worked and shopped downtown during the 60's, 70's and 80's. We once had a great little City but it has gone down hill fast. Very fast after the riot and inaction by Mayor Luken. Mallory is in my opinion also a loser. He does nothing and will not address the problems within the City.The people have to want to help themselves and from what I see this will never happen.

My last recourse is to move out of the county. I lived in the City for over 30 years and the county for 44. I can move to Kentucky. If I sell my house at a loss, so be it. I am not longer a young man and do not want to deal with higher crime rates etc. Do your best but do not stick it to the townships. They and I pay a hefty tax to the County coffers. If you shut down police protection to the townships you will lower your tax base because the housing prices will suffer and those who can leave will do so.

Quim said...

My latest suggestion.

Anonymous said...

What's next? Tweakit a little bit pulling the best of each commissioners viable solutions - and make the fricking cuts!! You have no choice (send DeWine and Finney a thank you note) then make it crystal clear that the Sheriff is the one cutting jobs and patrols in favor of keeping a ridiculous and inefficient, often double dipping, administrative staff.
Personally, I'd like to see the names of every employee who is double dipping, AND every employee eligible for retirement or a buy out - these are the greediest citizens in the county and should have the harsh light of community justice shone upon them.

Anonymous said...

Can you explain to the employees of JFS why some of the classifcations that completed mandated functions were all depleted during the lay off and non-mandated classifications were left with the senior person still with their job?

Anonymous said...

Hearings Done: What's Next?

Here's 2 contributions to shore up the budget:

1) Start collecting the delinquent Court Costs by those who aren't incarcerated or don't have a commissary account. Once you take a look at how far this is in the arrears, you'll be shocked. I guarantee it. Court's always open; have the Judges give 'em a day to come back to make payments until the $85 is paid back to the taxpayers.

2) Start a pay to stay for those incarcerated in jail. Yeah, I know you & Todd don't want to upset folks, but it is what it is. These criminals are getting a bunk, 3 squares & striped duds at the expense of the taxpayers. It's time to start spreading the misery equitably & fairly.

3) Pare down the costs of feeding those incarcerated. I have no idea what the per tray per inmate costs are, but, I believe the costs can be shaved & a more spartan, yet nutritous trays should be put in place. Taxpayers have cut their food costs & have accepted eating lesser fare.

If public safety is sacrificed in any manner, I'll have to go with Cpl. Steers in his call for taxpayers to stand up & look for elected officials who will place public safety ahead of everything else in future budgets. The last thing the taxpayers need to shoulder is more consultants for medical benefits & Heaven knows what else.

Cut the Deputies, close Q'gate & watch what happens. It'll be a criminal insurrection & those law-abiding people who can, will flee. My goal is to be out of Hamilton County by this time next year. I've simply had enough.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Portune and his budget recommendations. Everyone that has been laid off from the county (including me) are wondering if we will be able to make our house payments or if it will be foreclosed on. It seems like a good idea to recall all laid off employees (even if it may be at a lesser rate of pay) to put revenue back into the economy and the county. We can only pray that the recall is before we lose our houses.

Anonymous said...

- if there are responsible options that can reduce the number of (and high cost of) layoffs, we should pursue or encourage them

David,
I hope this is being done.....I work in facilites where the word is that there will be at least 10 or more of us will be lay off anyday...is anything being done to save our jobs?

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