Cutting the City Council Budget

With the severe cuts needed to balance our city budget, every department will have to make sacrifices. That includes the budget for the Mayor and City Council offices. The question is, what cuts will produce the greatest savings while minimizing any reduction in service to our constituents?

Right before council recess, the Mayor charged Councilmember Jerry Allen with developing proposed cuts to our council budget. Councilmember Allen has been working hard to gather a consensus among the council, but it’s been difficult to do so during the council recess.

Each councilmember represents 90,000 residents. We each have two staff members: a secretary and an assistant. Each office gets hundreds of phone calls, emails, and letters requesting assistance with city issues. Our secretaries and assistants help us respond to those requests.

With a goal of reducing our budget by nearly $500,000, Councilmember Allen has proposed cutting half our secretaries. However, with the significant cuts in many city services, the council is going to see an increase in constituent phone calls and service requests, and the proposal to eliminate half the secretaries will, in my opinion, reduce our ability to respond to residents.

We can obtain nearly the same savings, without eliminating secretaries, by making the following cuts:

Reduce individual council office budgets by at least 30%
Savings: $188,160

Eliminate photocopying agenda materials (use online agenda)
Savings: $148,000

Eliminate Meals for Mayor and Council
Savings: $32,334

Eliminate Mayor and Council travel budget
Savings: $60,000

Eliminate fleet fuel and lube (unclear what this is for)
Savings: $10,262

Eliminate 1 of 3 photocopiers
Savings: $6,744

Eliminate hand-delivery of council packets to Mayor and Council homes
Savings: $6,024

Eliminate hard copies of interoffice memoranda to Mayor and Council (email memos)
Savings: $5,850

TOTAL SAVINGS: $457,374

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