Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Budget Thoughts

Cooper City is today experiencing the longest period of sustained economic growth since I can remember. The foundation of this upcoming Budget is our determination to maintain stability and growth without reducing vital services to the public.

Facing a certain future of intense scrutiny, Cooper City's government must be fully prepared and be fully equipped. Long term prosperity can be secured only if we make the right decisions to be leaders in local government, enterprise, infrastructure and education. Our family prosperity can be secured only if we match a strong economy with investments to help parents balance work and family life, to give every child in our schools the best possible start in life, and to deliver a fair deal for our stakeholders.

So my Budget choice is to lock in stability and never put it at risk; to strike the right balance between tax cuts that are affordable, investments that are essential and stability that is paramount, at all times putting our city's hard working families first.

I have repeatedly requested to have our budget and financial statements placed on our city website to no avail. Recently, the Governor has created the Office of Open Government for the purpose of replacing the door and installing a window into the workings of the People's Government, and the sun shines brightly through that window. We need to mirror his example and vision right here in our city. We need to provide our residents and the public, access to our budget from the comfort of their homes, without charge.

In addition to intense budget scrutiny, I will suggest a top-to-bottom review of our customer service operations and attitude, and implementation of my proposed changes to have them placed underway forthwith in order to provide the people with the most ethical, open, and customer-friendly government possible. It is their government after all, and it should serve them well.

While I have only been your Commissioner for just under five months, my work to make our city government more ethical, more open, and more focused on serving the people is just beginning. We, working as a team, will prevail in changing the public's attitude in regards to our government, along with their trust and faith in it.

To our great credit, we must all work as a team to further trim the upcoming budget of many white elephants. A 'balanced budget' is simply not my idea of prosperity. Costs of Police & Fire are up, along with costs associated with our utilities infrastructure.

We must make further deep cuts regarding waste and unnecessary spending in the proposed upcoming budget in order to put even more tax dollars back into the pockets of our families, businesses and employees. We must drastically reduce the extreme operating costs of our local government and increase its level of customer service.

No one person or party can claim to have all of the answers. In the end we all must work together, residents and this administration alike, and the people must get what they have long demanded government to do. That is, focus on results, not politics nor process. And I know that if we all work together, we can succeed. I invite all of you to the budget workshops and public hearings (posted here) and I implore you to give valuable and much anticipated input throughout the entire budget approval process.

As long as we remember that we serve the people, and we work together to do what is right, all of these goals that all of us share and dream of can be achieved. In public service, it is always important to remember, we serve the people—our boss.

You can read my entire budget commentary here.

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