Friday, March 30, 2012

Government logic: we have savings - now how do we spend it?

From WSPD News:

Now that a TPPA contract is finalized, city leaders are looking into using savings derived from the deal to beef up Toledo's police force. Contract concessions will save the city four million dollars per year. The police union president is asking that money be used for more cops, to not only replace retiring officers, but add to police ranks.
So the goal of reducing the costs to the city and the taxpayers was realized in the new union contract with the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association, but now 'city leaders' want the city to spend those savings adding more police officers?

What's the point of 'savings' if you're just going to spend them again?

This is faulty logic.

There isn't enough money to meet the current budget.  The city has planned to take another $12 million out of the Capital Improvements Program Fund (CIP) in order to balance the 2012 general fund which pays for everyday expenses.  If they transfer the full amount as planned, they will have diverted over $62 million out of CIP over the last several years.

For those of you who don't do math, this means that the city is $62 million OVER BUDGET for those years - spending money they didn't have and often on things that are *wanted* rather than *needed*.

This would be the equivalent of you creating a savings account to pay for the new roof you need because your current one is leaking and then raiding that fund to pay for your new boat.

Now along comes some idiot who wants the city to spend the savings from their new contract increasing the overall cost of government by adding new police officers.

Can you say "stuck on stupid"?

Don't get me wrong...I think we probably need new officers.  But the problem is that council spends so much money elsewhere they don't have the funds for the necessities like police officers.

I suppose I shouldn't worry, though.  The last time the city found 'additional' money, they spent it rather than reducing the amount they planned to raid from the CIP.  And they didn't spend it on necessities:

  • they hired extra staff that a department didn't want, but a councilwoman did;
  • they bought themselves a new filing system and temp to fill it for them;
  • they hired a consultant to create a historic preservation plan; and
  • they hired an executive director for a previously-eliminted Youth Commission.

My expectation is that they'll do the same types of things this time around.

Sorry, TPPA, I believe that money is already spent - and it isn't on you.

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