Late in 2009 the Mayor (Eddie Perez) and Council President (Pedro Segarra) authorized a Task Force to look for ways to “reduce spending and/or increase revenue.” The final report was issued on March 26, 2010, and made five recommendations.
Health Care Benefits
- Hire an independent benefits consultant to study the current system in detail and look for savings opportunities.
- Evaluate the benefits of a Health Savings Account (HSA) plan.
- Increase the employee contribution for health benefits.
- Consider a defined contribution plan for all new employees.
- Fill the vacant Purchasing Agent position.
- Automate the procurement process, so that it works with MUNIs.
- Modify the procurement procedure to allow more negotiation with the lowest responsive bidder and to implement a Price/Cost Analysis Review.
- Create an incentive program to change the “spend it or lose it” mindset of departments.
- Review the impacts of the Living Wage Ordinance on all City contracts.
- Review the impacts of “green” requirements on City expenses.
- Combine the internal services of buildings and grounds maintenance, and printing and duplicating, so that the City and the schools utilize the same groups.
- Explore opportunities to co-locate schools and library branches.
- Advertise City groups (like MHIS) to provide the same services to smaller municipalities.
- Look at a broad range of services that could be provided more cheaply at a regional level (911, snow plowing).
- Create a program to implement ideas submitted by employees about how to reduce costs and/or increase revenues.
The group also recommended that the City keep informed on the State Legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE).
In the report’s conclusion, the Task Force writes that, “if we deal only with ‘quick fixes’, we will never accomplish the long-term changes that can result in improved financial stability for the City.”
2 thoughts on “2009-2010 Budget Task Force Recommendations”
Kyle, two points:
1. Do you know if any of these recommendations were further explored, discussed with the new Council and/or implemented once Eddie left the mayor’s office, and
2. Are still-evolving plans developed over a matter of a few months to spend substantial scarce dollars on a municipal stadium, with the hope it will someday drive new economic development, and in the absence of presenting any other alternatives for long term economic growth, a “quick fix” versus spending funds (albeit much less) in the near term to fix roads, schools and other city physical assets, and otherwise currently provide for city residents in need?
Hi, Thom. I don’t yet know how many of the recommendations have been explored, or implemented. In fact I’m still learning about additional commissions and task forces that have been formed to look into similar issues over the years. This research project is going to be a long process.
Your second point seems more like a comment on the relative spending priorities of the City than a question about fixing revenue and expense imbalances.
Filling out the northern edge of the Downtown neighborhood with a ballpark and mixed use space is not (in my view) an example of a financial “quick fix” that these task force members were concerned about. The Downtown North proposal would not be “quick,” and many have argued that it’s not a financial “fix.”
I think the task force members are referring to budget balancing strategies that have the effect of postponing the inevitable rather than facing challenges head on.
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