“Best Blogs of the Week”
(Edited for grammar and punctuation)
A POTPOURRI OF CITIZEN COMMENTS IS
AGAIN PROVIDED THIS WEEK IN ORDER
FOR YOU TO GET IN TUNE WITH THE
MOOD OF OUR READERS
1.There were a number of blogs from knowledgeable readers on employee pensions. #528, 529, 535, 539, 540.
2. A reader sent us this article from the New York Post
BLOATED BENEFITS COST CITY 106G PER WORKER
By DAVID SEIFMAN City Hall Bureau Chief
The city's municipal workers earned an average of $69,124 last year - but the cost to taxpayers reached an eye-popping $106,743 because of skyrocketing fringe-benefit expenses, according to a report released yesterday. The study, by the Citizens Budget Commission, found that city employees' salaries jumped 33 percent from fiscal 2000 to fiscal 2008, a period when the regional consumer price index went up 29 percent. But fringe benefits - fueled by a 700 percent increase in the city's pension bills - were off the charts, soaring from $13,356 to $37,619 during the same time period. And those were just the averages. Firefighters, whose contracts call for built-in overtime and 20-year retirements, "cost" an average of $186,464 each. Cops, with similarly generous benefits, came in at $164,045. Teachers and other instructional personnel averaged $98,505. The remaining civilian workers brought up the rear at $83,279. The watchdog group placed some of the blame on Mayor Bloomberg, saying the pay raises he negotiated "have been generous in both historical and comparative terms." The CBC added, "The latest settlements awarded civilian and uniformed unions at least 4 percent annual wage increases, well above projected inflation, with no concessions." Carol Kellerman, the group's executive director, said the findings provide hard evidence that the city "can't continue to think the same way of our relationship with public-sector employees as we did before." Mayoral spokesman Mark LaVorgna pointed out that the city is prohibited by state law from negotiating pension benefits, which is the chief driver of the escalating payroll. "The mayor has been seeking pension reform for years, and we are finally seeing some movement, with Governor Paterson taking the lead and proposing the new pension tier the mayor has been asking for," LaVorgna said. "Also, since 2000, there have been at least 46 pension sweeteners that have been passed in Albany that have increased our pension obligations. That doesn't even count the bills that were vetoed by the governor at the city's insistence." The mayor is scheduled to release his grim preliminary budget for fiscal 2010 in two weeks, and it is expected to include layoffs at some agencies. The CBC report landed on the same day that the Independent Budget Office warned that the city faced astronomical budget gaps of $4.3 billion and $7 billion in fiscal 2010 and 2011. Analysts said the $7 billion deficit estimate represented 15.9 percent of city-funded revenues. Both figures were the highest since the IBO began keeping records in 1990. In November, the mayor had put the gaps at $1.3 billion and $5 billion. "The data keep getting worse," said one official. Tax-revenue estimates in virtually every category were down, with $34.7 billion expected to come in this year, down 7.5 percent, or $2.8 billion, from 2008. firstname.lastname@example.org To sign up for Daily Newsletter Alerts, please visit LINK
3. The following BLOG seems to repeat a portion of an article printed in the Deland Beacon newspaper and added on a review of New Smyrna Beach activities in renting ice machines and printers. Both aspects we think are worth reprinting.
In contrast, this is what we should spend our Stimulus Funds on: Projects that in the future, will result in SAVINGS in City Operating expenses.
Read this article that was in the Beacon, LINK
It seems Port Orange wants to use its stimulus money to put solar panels on its City buildings. This will SAVE them a ton of money on their power bills for years, which they can then use somewhere else if they want to. In contrast, look at what Randy wants; Another Pet Project, that will cost us additional Operating Dollars forever!
And where do you think his going to get all that money to operate that Fish Farm?
You got it; The Taxpayers!
At the very least, they should use that stimulus money to repave our roads, repair our sidewalks, sewers, water pipes, storm drainage, and replace things that we need to get replaced!
Example: Everybody else in the world has figured-out, that if you replace your old AC Unit, with a new highly efficient one, you'll save enough to pay for it in 3-4 years just from the reduced power costs alone. To say nothing about the repair bills....
But the City doesn't do that! It spends a fortune repairing the old inefficient AC units, year after year... because the City doesn't give a dam what their AC units cost to run, as long they run! Because after all, the Taxpayers are paying the power bill! And the repair bill too!
And this same thing goes all thru the City, in every department; For Example: We Rent Copy machines and Ice Machines, we don't buy them!
Of course, the rental fees costs us more than what we could buy them for, and pay somebody to fix if they break!
The Police Department is spending $3200/yr to "rent" a copy machine.
The Building and Maintenance Department is "renting" an Ice Maker for $1440 a yr.
The Sports Complex is "renting" an Ice Maker for $2600 a yr.
The City Attorney's Office is "renting" a Copy Machine at $5600 a yr.
The Finance Department is "renting" a Copy Machine at $3400 a yr.
The Recreation Department is "renting" a Copy Machine at $3200 a yr.
Under "General Government, the City has noted it's renting a copy machine for $6300.
The Building Department is "renting" a Copy Machine at $3200 a yr.
ADD IT ALL UP; $32,140 in Rental Fees for Copy Machines and Ice Makers every year.....
And at the end of the year, we don't own anything.....so we start all over the next year.