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Too many questions unanswered about city staffing and budget

Anonymous • Jan 1, 2013 at 11:37 AM

My topic this week is how tight lipped the City Manager is about city items on hold and the status of the budget.

Since the year has ended, I hope the City Manager will give her year-end report to the taxpayer, head of the organization chart, about the state of the city. Or will she give her report exclusively to the Rotary members as it has been traditionally done in the past? It seems really bizarre for the City Manager to give her State of the City Address to Rotarians instead of the very people who pay her wages.

Ms. Ard should be informing us as to what has been accomplished during her first year, what her goals will be for the upcoming year, and what she will need to address as her top priorities. Ms. Ard should make her presentation at the City Commission meeting so we can feel her confidence that things are progressing along and that we are not waiting until a fire starts burning to address various problems that could have been taken care of by being proactive.

What does the manager intend to do with the City Engineer’s position? Who will fill the position until we obtain another engineer and when will that happen?  We certainly hope the projects are in experienced hands until such time we fill the engineer’s position. The manager was notified a year in advance of the vacancy. I am disappointed that we haven’t gotten someone ready to hit the ground; instead, we have waited until the person is about to leave and now a gap may well exist in the position. It is vital that we have an engineer in place as soon as possible.

The union contract will expire and mum is still the word as to how negotiations have been progressing along. What will the new contract consist of in benefits and wages?

Six firefighters are working under a grant, which is running dry. The situation is not sustainable and the firefighters will eventually have to be laid off because the budget will not be able to accommodate the expense of keeping them on after the grant runs out.  

The IT Manager was never replaced. I wonder, by not replacing the position, how vulnerable it makes the city’s operating systems, by not having the expertise in keeping the city’s computer systems well maintained. Is the budget that bad that we cannot replace him?

There are a lot of expenses on the city’s plate and not enough revenue to cover all that needs to be covered.  It makes me wonder how we could possibly entertain thoughts of moving City Hall and taking on more debt to accommodate the project since we can’t even afford the simple necessities to keep a city running. It is irresponsible of our leaders to consider moving City Hall while neglecting other projects that are still in dire need of attention and have been for years.   

Until next time, there are a lot of questions the taxpayers would like answered in order for us to feel comfortable and less anxious about whether or not we are in capable hands.  


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