Saturday, July 29, 2006

What I'd like you to know

The recent controversial proposal concerning elimination of the Assistant to the Town Manager position, one of the roles now held by Town Clerk Judy Anderson, was an idea I put forth to address the Council’s concern that we begin to focus on the looming imbalance between the revenue we receive and the expenses we incur in operating your Town government. This fiscal situation has been exacerbated by the flood which left a devastating hole in our general fund budget, plus the $5 million dollars in FEMA funding that we have yet to receive. I have decided to rescind my personnel recommendation – a decision based on the significant opposition raised in the community. I want to be clear, however, that the Town’s fiscal situation is fragile, and is partially masked by the generosity of the taxpayers in passing Measure F last year. The Council, through its strategic planning work, is evaluating where we can identify revenue that we hope will fill the funding gap that will occur after this special funding sunsets after fiscal year 2010. We are a small town and we can identify the potential for savings in few key areas – principal among these being personnel. At the same time, the Town has an obligation to ensure the safety of the community through fully staffing police and fire operations to be adequately prepared for any emergencies. Balancing all of the Town’s competing financial priorities is not an easy task. I will be working with the Council to promote creative efficiencies in providing municipal service to the community and welcome your recommendations and suggestions.