Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Citizens Budget Advisory Committee Presentation

The Citizens Budget Advisory Committee presented the FY 2011 recommendations to the City Council on Monday, November 22, 2010.  The link to the presentation is below.  


Monday, November 22, 2010

CBAC Recommendations to Be Presented Monday, November 22

The CBAC will present their findings in a brief presentation this evening at the City Council meeting.  We will post our findings on this site after the presentation.  We hope all citizens will read the document and send your thoughts and ideas to the Administartion and  your council person. 

Remember, it is your money being spent.

Monday, November 15, 2010

CBAC Findings in Final Stages

The CBAC is documenting its final comments to be presented to the Council on November 22nd.  This is your last chance to send us your thoughts and ideas regarding the City budget.

The administration has acknowledged that we have sent them detailed questions, but at this time because of the budget deliberations and busy schedule, cannot answer them. 

We will post our findings after the November 22nd presentation.

Again, if you have any input to your budget, now is the time.

Remember, this is your money that is being spent.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Budget Questions Sent to Administration

Below is the letter with questions submitted to the Administration.  We will post the answers as we get them.

Dear Ms. Taylor and Council Members:

Attached is a document that includes questions from members of the Citizens’ Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) and from city residents who have utilized the CBAC blog to submit their questions.

The Committee felt that it was important for the entire Council to have an opportunity to review these questions.  They are representative of CBAC members’ concern over the development of an annual expense budget that, without significant action by the City Administration and the City Council, will become unsustainable in future years. Resident questions echo this concern.

The document is organized into divisional categories. Questions from CBAC members are generally in response to recent  budget hearings attended by members but they also stem from hours of discussion in committee, research into comparative practices in other communities, reviews of documents obtained through numerous OPRA requests, and regular attendance at City Council meetings and budget hearings.  Questions from city residents are not confined to the various divisions that have already made their budget presentations. Resident questions pertain to city  services, practices, and the process for making  funding decisions as part of the annual budget process. Where possible, residents’ questions have also been organized under categories.

The Committee will rely again on the City Administrator for her usual concise and accurate replies to these questions. CBAC members will submit additional questions following upcoming budget hearings.

Thank you.


Susan Kilduff
Chair, FY11 CBAC

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CBAC Successes

Some people believe that CBAC members are wasting their time and the Council will not listen to their recommencations.  While we have no authority, when the Council reviews the budget, they do listen to what the CBAC has suggested. We try to bring as many voices to the table as you will allow through your participation.  We have no agenda other than being taxpayers with a vested interested in the outcome of the budget. 

Here are some recommendations the CBAC made to the Council over the past two years which were implemented.  In many cases the ideas were not soley those of the CBAC, but mirrored those of the Council.  It was validation to the Council of the thoughts and wishes of the taxpayers.

 - Create quantifiable deparmental goals to measure success (The Council is asking all departments to present these measures in their 2011 budget deliberations)

-  Move Dudley House off  the tax role (Dudley House is no longer being paid for by taxpayers dollars.  It is being run by a non-profit)

- Continue the CBAC as a voice of the people (this is the third successive year the CBAC has been in place)

- Reduce 911 overtime (the city is moving toward putting civilians in the dispatch unit rather than using higher cost employees. This move will greatly reduce the overtime cost, which in turn will save the taxpayers money )

The CBAC wants to have as much input from you to relay to the Council.  The Council wants your input.  That is why it is important that you send us your questions. 

Remember, it's your money that is being spent.

Questions To Be Sent - Answers Posted When Received

We will be sending the Administration and Council our questions for this week on Friday afternoon.  Once sent, we will post the questions as well as the answers when received.

We welcome and encourage all questions. 

Bear in mind that the CBAC is an advisory committee only.  We have no decision making ability, however it is important to note that while Plainfield citizens may think this is pointless, many of our suggestions to the Council have been taken under advisement and implemented.  We will outline them tomorrow.

In the meantime, please send your questions to us.

Remember, it is your money that is being spent.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wednesday - Thursday Budget Deliberations

The schedule for this week's budget deliberations are as follows:

Wednesday, November 3rd - 400 E. Front Street
Public Works and Recreation

Thursday, November 4th - 400 E. Front Street
Social Services (Plainfield Action Services - WIC - Bilingual Daycare), Health

We are submitting your questions, as well as the CBAC questions, to the Council and Administration this week.  You are welcome to submit questions regarding past as well as this week's or future deliberations.  We will post the answers when we receive them.

We also welcome any research or information that you have found pertaining to how other towns have cut their budgets, increased efficiency and revenue.

This is your money that is being spent.  Let your voice be heard.