Government must become more cost-effective, says ANNE PHILLIPS of the Brigantine Taxpayers Association. Anne writes: At the Jan. 15 Council meeting, we commented on two topics. The first concerned the vote on the proposed salary ordinance.
1. It’s been a long time since an analysis has been done of the salary ordinance. Such a review is essential. We’re in a down economy. Governments must become more cost-effective. That means being able to adapt and change. Having a salary ordinance such as this one, that provides flexibility to management regarding positions and salaries, makes sense. Employee costs are two-thirds of our budget. We can no longer simply raise taxes when revenue doesn’t equal proposed expenditures. The status quo is not sustainable. The money isn’t there. Everyone concerned about this ordinance should realize and acknowledge that fact and work with it.
Our second comment concerned the position of a director of public safety.
2. The Brigantine Taxpayers Association would like to make a statement regarding the possible appointment of a permanent director of public safety in place of departmental chiefs. Recently, the City had such a director at the same time it had chiefs, clearly an unnecessary and costly level of oversight.
Now, it is timely for our elected and appointed officials to analyze and evaluate current operations to decide if there is a better and less costly way to do what they determine needs to be done. Such is their job. There are several credible reasons for doing so: a weak economy, the current generous compensation for chiefs, the necessity to reduce the cost of municipal government and the excessive burden on taxpayers, advances in technology, and changes in methods of operation and in our population.
The two priorities of the BTA, and they should be the priorities for all involved in this matter, are an acceptable level of safety and service for taxpayers, and an affordable cost to them of providing these things. If a satisfactory level of safety and service can be provided at less cost, it should be done. So far, under the interim director, the City is receiving a satisfactory level.
Whatever the choice, we would expect the affected departments to continue to operate in their usual professional manner.
We believe the city manager is doing her job to determine and provide the necessary, cost-effective leadership in the public safety departments, whether with chiefs or a director. The new salary ordinance provides for either situation. We support the purpose and the process, and the thorough way it is being handled.
Anne H. Phillips
Brigantine Taxpayers Association