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CM Taylor

There are two items on this page:
1. A constituent communication from Christopher Taylor regarding the 2011 City Budget
2. A reply to the assertions made in Taylor's message.

1. Message from Council Member Taylor

From: Christopher Taylor [mailto:votetaylor4a2@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2011 9:42 PM
To: votetaylora2@gmail.com
Subject: Constituent Communication from Christopher Taylor (2011 Budget)

Friends,

As many of you know, it is Budget Season in Ann Arbor.  The City Administrator presented Council with his proposed budget for FY2012 on April 19 and now our task is to review, modify and approve it at our May 16 meeting.

We must close a projected FY2012 $2.4M revenue shortfall in a General Fund budget of less than $80M.  This shortfall is projected to grow to $4.9M in FY2013, if we do not take immediate measures.  The City Administrator proposes to close these gaps through a variety of mechanisms, including use of fund balance and service cuts.  These proposed cuts include:

1) Eliminating 20 FTEs in Police and Fire Services ($1.84M)

Seven of these FTEs are currently vacant; the balance would be reduced through layoffs, including 5 police officers and 5 fire fighters. 

Safety Services comprises approximately 51% of our General Fund Budget.  In 2000, Safety Services comprised 41% of our General Fund Budget.  This increase in Safety Services’ share is a direct result of (i) our efforts to protect these service areas from prior reductions in force; and (ii) our inability to obtain meaningful Police/Fire contract concessions due to Act 312, the state law that imposes binding arbitration upon municipalities and their safety services unions.

Although these cuts will impact back-office services, the Police Chief (and acting Fire Chief) believes that AAPD will be able to maintain patrol numbers and that AAFD will be able to maintain response times.

 2) Public Services Fund Shifting and Reductions ($846K)

 There are two accounting changes that will result in material General Fund savings, without appreciable service reductions.

 New research has shown that the urban forest plays a crucial role in stormwater management.  In light of this evidence, we have moved responsibility for City trees in the Right-of-Way from the cash strapped General Fund to the more robust Storm Water Fund.  This shift will allow us to continue removals/re-plantings at previous levels, despite reductions in revenue.

 In previous years, the General Fund has supported snow/ice/graffiti removal from City property and Traffic Island maintenance/mowing.  We are moving funding of these functions to the “Metropolitan Extension Telecommunication Rights-of-Way Oversight (“METRO”) Fund” a state fund associated with Right-of-Way maintenance.

 The Administrator proposes eliminating 8 FTEs in Public Services through a mix of layoffs and the elimination of vacant positions.

3) Reducing Human Services Funding by 10% ($116K)

Ann Arbor is one of the two municipalities in the State of Michigan that still funds local non-profits that provide services to the neediest among us.  The need for these services has of course increased during the Great Recession.  We managed last year to preserve funding unchanged, but this year, the Administrator has proposed a 10% reduction.

Some prior recipients of Ann Arbor’s human services funding include: Food Gatherers, Ozone House, Child Care Network, Community Action Network, and Legal Services.

I would be interested to learn your views as to whether we should continue to fund Human Services in light of our proposed Safety Service cuts.

Since the City Administrator delivered his proposal, the Mayor and Council have been working hard with Staff to explore our options.  In years past, we have been able to offset proposed cuts through a variety of methods. I regret to say that this year, I do not anticipate any material changes to the Administrator’s Budget; many if not all of these cuts will occur.  Prior to the completion of these efforts, however, there will be a Public Hearing held at the City Council meeting on May 2 to enable residents to communicate to Council their priorities and advice on how we should proceed.

To assist you in the event that you wish to come speak at the Public Hearing or to allow you to better form your opinions, I have attached the City Administrator’s budget summary for your consideration. [attached at the bottom of this web page]  It is from this baseline that the Mayor and Council will work to craft a final plan for May 16.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.  I look forward to the conversation.

Best,

Christopher

P.S.  If you no longer wish to receive communications such as these, please just let me know and accept my apologies for the intrusion.

--
Christopher Taylor
ctaylor@a2gov.org
Ann Arbor City Council Member (Third Ward)
734-604-8770 (m)
734-213-3605 (w)
734-213-6223 (h)



2. Rebuttal

This newsletter from Council member Taylor is misleading.  Police are a higher percent of the general fund because of a basic math principal.  If you take dollars out of the denominator and keep the numerator the same, the percent goes up.  In 2000, solid waste used to be part of the general fund.  Just adding back FY2010 solid waste expenses to total general fund expenses (the denominator) reduces the police FY2010 percent to 44%.  If you add back the other departments that have been moved out of the general fund since FY2000 (project management, IT, construction code fund) the percent drops to 39%
 
The employee figures reported in the audits do not support the claim that everything has been done to protect the safety services budget.  The number of police and fire employees dropped 35% between FY02 and FY10.  The decline in non safety services employees during the same period is 24%.  The proposed FY13 budget has more IT and DDA employees than those departments had in FY02.
 
Moving forestry expenses to the stormwater fund won't get trees planted.  The proposed tree planting expenses for FY12 and FY13 are about as much as the city has spent on a tree inventory and a consultant for the urban forest management plan.  The proposed FY12 and FY13 budget spends more than twice as much removing trees as replanting them.  If we want our street trees back, we'll have to plant them ourselves.
 
Council member Taylor says the city is moving snow/ice/graffiti removal and traffic island mowing to the metro expansion fund.  What he forgot to tell you is that the costs being moved to that fund are substantially higher than the increased spending from FY11 to FY12.  The result is that the city will spend less money in FY12 and FY13 on right of way maintenance.
 
Human Services funding will get reduced by $116,000.  If Council member Taylor wants to preserve the $116,000, I suggest he cancel the six figure corridor study consulting contract.  This was budgeted for FY11 but the amount has not been spent so the spending will be carried over to FY12.  Council could axe that cost from the budget if there were 7 council members who thought human services were more important than subsidizing more over building.

 


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Ann Arbor Neighborhoods,
Apr 29, 2011, 11:16 AM
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