I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alantown, PA Mayor Has the Right Idea on how to Balance a Budget Without Increasing Taxes

I read an interesting story this morning online about the mayor of Allentown Pennsylvania. Like most small government entities nationwide, Allentown is facing a significant budgetary shortfall. As I read the article, I realize that Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is addressing his budget issue the right way--by holding the line on tax rate increases and balancing the city's needs with the taxpayer's needs on an equal footing.

from the Lehigh Acres, PA "Morning Call"

"Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's highly anticipated financial recovery plan includes a heavy dose of one-shot revenue boosts along with previously announced cuts in wages and personnel. Pawlowski said the plan, which he unveiled Friday, provides a ''realistic'' and ''conservative'' blueprint that will help the city avoid a projected $9.5 million deficit by year's end. The recovery plan identifies $3.7 million in unanticipated revenues and more than $1.7 million in cost savings, slashing the projected deficit by $5.4 million. The recovery plan relies heavily on more than $3.5 million worth of one-shot revenue boosts, such as selling city property and sewage capacity.''I don't like to do it this way, but these are extraordinary times,'' Pawlowski said.Despite the reliance on one-shot revenues, Pawlowski said a tax increase in 2010 is ''off the table'' because the city's large poor and senior population can't afford the burden. ''That would lead to more foreclosures and less revenue for the city, so it doesn't help,'' Pawlowski said. After Pawlowski failed to reach a concession agreement with the 420-member Service Employees International Union, the city's largest union, he fired 39 employees last week."

I like the fiscal conservatism I see in Mayor Pawlowski's approach to declining revenues. He's got it right.

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