I know it is an off election year, and that there is not a lot of interest in what the Town is doing, but we better keep a close eye on this budget cycle.
The town manager has presented a budget that is balanced only if the council agrees to $3 million in increased and new taxes and fees. There has been no sacrifice by the town; instead they are considering coming to us for more money.
Oro Valley is considering an employee raise/bonus. Other cities are considering furloughs and layoffs. Oro Valley pays 100 percent of employee health benefits and 75 percent of dependent benefits. Oro Valley gives 68 policemen a take- home vehicle. Oro Valley has eight policemen assigned to a task force, meaning that they don’t even work in Oro Valley.
Oro Valley has eight motorcycle policemen, while all of Pima County has only six. Oro Valley gives employees a holiday for Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and their birthday. Oro Valley has budgeted over $160,000 for training and travel ($36,000 just for mayor and council training). Oro Valley does the Amphi District job of providing security to the schools with seven school resource officers (SRO’s).
Before you come to the citizens for more money, you need to clean up your own house. You need to make some sacrifices. Instruct the town manager to present a balanced budget without an increase to the citizens. If the council decides that the sacrifices are too much, they can then attempt to raise more money. It is the responsibility of the elected officials, not the bureaucrats, to make theses decisions. They can be held accountable.
How much money can be saved by having the employees participate in their health care expenses, eliminating three holidays, eliminating the Special Task Force, reducing the motorcycle detachment to four, eliminating the take home vehicles, and reducing the training/travel expenditures, reducing the SROs to one at each high school?
Until you ask these questions, among many others, don’t attempt to raise taxes and fees.