Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a collaspe of monumental proportions

I would like to thank life of Jason for this posting. It has become evident that the one lone voice of fiscal responsibility, or so we thought, has turned his back on the citizens of Springfield that believe the city should live within its means.

I would like to point out the city appropriates money based on projections from the tax rates from the previous years then adds to that a process called baseline budgeting, allowing for the city to spend money even if the tax revenues do NOT meet the obligation thus allowing the city to further fall into financial duress and asking for the taxpayers to once again bail out the entity known as the city.

There were many areas of waste in this document as I've got many pages with highlighted sections which could've been scaled back or just not done at all. While the rubber stamp committee continues on its merry way into our wallets the fire and police pension plan continues to bleed red ink because of mismanagement. The very same mismanagement which is going to appropriate $575 million for new parks, including a tricycle park which will become an outdoor skateboarding facility within a couple of years due to lack of interest.

KUDOS to Alice Rainbolt for standing up for what is RIGHT and questioning the funding of this taxpayer funded project which has many shaking their heads except city council.

To councilwoman Mary Collette how much business is brought into the city because of our park system??

Please point out one business owner which located their business here because of a great and expanding park system. Ms Collette my business just like most must have roads and infrastructure which is well maintained, a park does nothing for my bottom line, it doesn't make me more profitable, it does however effect my taxes since the parks system gets a big chunk of money annual not to mention the ever expanding tax levies which always seem to get passed.

7:52pmCouncil Bill 2008-017. Adopting the Capital Improvement Program. Councilman Burlison spoke on the concerns he raised two weeks prior and what he has discovered about a tricycle park. He found out the land was donated to the city with a caveat that it be used for young children. He doesn’t feel it needs to be removed.

Councilwoman Rushefsky wanted to address the issue. She said the Mayor’s Commission on Children has an interest in giving children a healthy start and a safe place to play and that this project does that. She says the expenditure is critical and if we want to talk about sustainability and that sustainability of our children is critical. She spoke about how children not learning healthy habits will harm them as adults. She shared information about health issues regarding children.

Councilman Manley said that the parks are one of the things that makes this city a great place which to live and play. He commended the Park Board for their efforts and how they provide a service to fit the needs of the citizens of the community.

Councilman Wylie addressed a letter given to Council by a local citizen who is a pediatric nurse and supporting the tricycle park. “Allow the same safety for our children we would give to our dogs.” The letter said the park would be open to children not yet in school and without access to parks connected to community schools. Councilman Wylie reiterated that a lot of these items were approved by the voters and city entities have to spend the funds in the manner given by the voters.

He said the CIP also gives an overview and status report on the improvements to community like sidewalks, intersections, storm water drains and other community improvements.

Councilman Chiles said this was a good process for him as a new member of council to understand the process. He said that only $60 million was new projects while the rest of the $576 million is ongoing projects like the airport or storm sewer improvements. He said this is just a way to throw light on ways the city is making a better future for our children.

Councilman Burlison expressed his thanks to the other council members for allowing the second look at the items on the CIP. He said he couldn’t find any waste in the document but appreciated the fact the time was taken to make sure.

8:08pm…Alice Reinbolt speaks on the issue. She said that living within our means is wonderful and a Springfield trait. She said her problem with the CIP is that she thinks it’s just a portion of the budget for Springfield and the amount considering the state of the economy is abnormally high.

One of the items she was commenting on was having a one stop shop for Planning and Zoning. She wonders if there is a way to reorganize current buildings so that a new building doesn’t need to be built to handle planning and zoning.

She took issue with parks and seven new parks. She said that she understands kids need to get out but “there are such a thing as parenting skills.” (Blogger’s note: so apparently if you have a fat kid you have bad parenting skills…)

She said she wants council to look over the issue carefully.

Councilwoman Collette thanked her for her comments and that they shared some of her concerns. She reminded the speaker that some of the projects receive grants and donations but that they have to be included in the CIP so the project can be completed so the money doesn’t come out of general revenue. Councilwoman Collette spoke about how parks and other items contribute to making this community viable to businesses and having a higher quality of life than if we had nothing but good streets and nothing else.

The speaker said she understands some of the money is coming in from grants and foundations but that given our economic situation in our country that these funds will reduce significantly. She claimed that her neighbors had the same feelings as she did on the issue.

Councilman Wylie addressed the speaker and thanked her for her phone call about the issue. He asked if she had a chance to speak with Jodie Adams of the Park Board about her concerns. She said that she hasn’t done that and Councilman Wylie said that he knows Ms. Adams would be happy to do so.

Councilman Burlison commented that he wanted to reiterate to the speaker that her time wasn’t wasted going online and looking at the information. He said that comments like hers are valued and appreciated.

Public hearing is closed the CIP passes 8-0.

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