A couple of the council members recently challenged me to provide a vision for the city. I used the word “challenged” in the first sentence on purpose because, admittedly, initially I internally scoffed at the request as being insincere. From my personal view my vision and goals have never changed and they should be obvious to anyone that has been paying attention. I want my government to make good decisions with my tax dollars.
Though I was tempted to stop this article at the end of the first paragraph, you can see below that did not happen. First, I'm going to go with the possibility that I misread motives. Also, it has been a while since I have tried to explain what actions are needed to implement this objective so their suggestion is a good idea. There are so many items to put in this essay I worry it will take a year to write so let me start out with the two most important items which are also the most achievable.
First: Fund the two additional Firefighter/EMS positions needed so that we can make our new three station fire service plan work efficiently.
Second: Fund an appropriate number of additional patrol officers
Money: I consider the Firefighter positions as significantly higher priority for any additional funds the city collects. I consider the police positions as a high priority but one where other spending must be considered. Examples of other spending that would compete would be road improvements, increased park maintenance and increasing the General Fund Reserve balance (sometimes referred to as a rainy day fund).
Before we add these positions, funds must be available. I believe the best way to determine if the funds will be available is to see how our fund balances have progressed since the income tax levy passed. Though the income tax levy was supposed to have provided just enough money for us to get by until 2025 with an improving economy we may be progressing better than the 2014 projections. We should be able to judge this by looking at an update of this chart. The growth or decline in the unencumbered balance is the key to making that judgement.
Continued in the next installments