November 10, 2003

Follow the Money

That was Deep Throat's tip in the Watergate scandal, and my hunch is it applies to Richmond's budget crisis, as well. Expanding on the earlier thread, it would be great to do some ferreting to see which city departments have grown the most in the last 25 years.

Allowing for very modest increases in fire and police staffing--and these appear to be fairly low per capita growth patterns--but where are the other 350 employees sitting? How about growth patterns in the last five, three, and one year(s)? After all, if you grow your department by 50% in one year, it's not much of a "cut" to reduce your department by 10% the following year.

And let's not forget contractor dollars--I'd be curious to see the total "real" labor costs for Richmond.

The entire budget requires analysis--not just the parts of the budget the city is attempting to steer discussion around.

For example, I understand that city hall proper required seismic upgrades. This itself may have spurred some significant and unavoidable costs. But it's fascinating to me that these upgrades required a move to a fairly nice corporate campus located far from the city center. How much is this all costing us, what's the timetable for returning to downtown Richmond, and did we have less costly alternatives? Were all of the related costs essential--or is this another case where key labor groups in Richmond are shouldering the burden--and the blame--for supporting the city in could boil down to "lifestyle choices?" (Good grief, the foyer for that corporate campus is larger than the West Branch for the library!)

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Posted by: Fast weight loss center at May 15, 2004 12:36 PM

Amen to that one. Unfortunately, that study alone could cost another $100,000. Perhaps the outgoing Finance Director would be willing to share that information. Or maybe there is a reason the Finance Director left and the replacement may have a better idea where all the "beef" went. In any event, it certainly is food for thought. Perhaps the proper forum to get this project steaming along would be the City Council? But then again, they may be problem itself rather than the solution. A curious situation with no readily available answer.

Posted by: Fred Arm at November 11, 2003 06:19 PM
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