Thursday, November 15, 2007

OGM: Seventeen-percenters

Hooray for the Seventeen-Percenters!
Seventeen percent of voters in our city elections voted for me and the message of liberty.   I'm thrilled to be a 17%er, and honored to carry our banner.

OGM: Vote for me!

This is Christy Welty at 472-4426.
Fairfield city elections are coming up on the first Tuesday in November. To keep the strongest voice for freedom on your city council, vote for me on November 6.

[This OutGoing Message was recorded a week or two before the election.]

Excerpt from Fairfield Ledger 11/14/2007

This is a reference for the post published one hour and fourteen minutes previously.

Excerpt of article in The Fairfield Ledger, 11/14/2007
Park and rec takes brunt of Fairfield's budget cuts
By: Lacey Jacobs, Ledger staff writer

The Fairfield City Council unanimously approved $102,500 worth of budget cuts Monday evening to make up for a $13 million valuation error.

According to ways and means committee chairman Myron Gookin, the error resulted in a loss of roughly $110,000 in the general fund. Because the committee has been trying to build up the fund during the past few years, it looked at ways to cut budgets and maintain the balance, he said.

The budget cuts include $29,200 for a recreation coordinator, $16,800 to the park and recreation department's budget, $25,000 for a code enforcement officer, $11,500 to the police department's budget, $5,000 to the fire department's budget, $10,000 to the public library's budget and $5,000 to the finance department's budget.

With the exception of the recreation coordinator, Gookin said the rest of the cuts were voluntary.

Park and rec director Barry Dodd, however, expressed concerns about the cuts to his department.

"When I came up with an alternative plan and tried in a sense to save the recreation coordinator position, my additional cuts were sort of contingent upon keeping that recreation position," Dodd said. "Based on our relations and our revenues, the number of participants we have and the support we have in the community, I just felt additional cuts beyond the recreation coordinator's position seem to be a little bit unequitable."

The $46,000 worth of cuts to the park and rec budget account for 45 percent of the total cuts.

The recreation coordinator's position has been empty since April. The park and rec staff has been working additional hours to cover those duties, and the department will continue to do the best it can, Dodd said.

Thus far, the department has only had to drop two programs, but more eliminations can be expected, he said.

Leadership and solidarity wanted in city councilors

Fairfield's city councilors cut several city department budgets in order to meet an unanticipated budget shortfall.   That's all well and good as far as it goes, but they could have easily gone further -- by cutting their own city-paid salaries.

They cut $102,500 toward a $110,000 shortfall, leaving $7500 budgeted above projected revenues.   As several councilors have mentioned at previous meetings, their salaries are nominal, only $150 per month.   Leaving their salaries in the general fund for the rest of the fiscal year (the first half of 2008) would amount to at least $6300, perhaps more.   It would be another step toward meeting the shortfall, and would show solidarity with the city's department heads who slimmed down their operations.

However supportive that might be, don't anticipate any cuts that would affect the personal incomes of the city councilors.   They like their salaries.   As one councilor told me, "No one else was laid off, no other employee took a pay cut, so why should we?"

(Exception: I do not and did not accept a salary from the city during my four years as an elected councilor.)