City Council is currently reviewing the 2006 city budget that my administration presented last week. We are working to protect taxpayers and continue our commitment of fiscal responsibility. We proposed a balanced budget that meets the needs of our community and will result in a high performance government for you.
We have an action plan to reduce costs. My leadership team and I will forego a pay raise in 2006. The leadership team will have the opportunity to earn performance-related compensation on a delayed basis in 2007 if high performance standards are met in 2006. Initiatives will include cost savings and the continued enhancement of quality customer service. We know you face challenges of high gas prices, and heating your home will cost more this winter. We want to do everything we can to help you stay within your personal budget.
My office now will approve all proposals to fill job vacancies or issue salary increases. This program is expected to save $250,000. City employees will be contributing more to their health insurance program, saving the city $500,000. In addition, our cell phone program will be evaluated.
We face challenging times in local government. Unfunded mandates, increasing expenses and decreasing revenues force us to do more with less to meet the needs of an expanding population base. The city has saved $10 million since 2000 by using business practices to protect taxpayers, reduce costs and provide increased services with fewer employees.
Congratulations go out to our Public Works Division for saving $2.9 million in property tax funds since 2001. A reduction in street light inventory saved $400,000. In-house street light work saved $150,000. New LED traffic signal bulbs are saving $110,000 annually. The city’s new hybrid vehicles will save $112,000 in fuel. A modified fleet maintenance contract saved $250,000. It takes innovation, teamwork and leadership to make these enhancements a reality.
Recent data shows the Water Filtration Plant has saved $10 million since 1998. These savings were met through a comprehensive competitive operational plan that led to positive changes in labor, chemical usage and supplies. Today, the plant is operating at $450,000 less than in 1998. Strategic planning and equipment automation lowered chemical costs by $1.7 million. Efficient high service pump motors saved over $100,000 in electricity. A big thank you to the Water Plant employees for their dedication to providing safe and great tasting drinking water.
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