Sunday, May 22, 2016

Watch the Council's budget hearings (update 4)

In this update, I have added below the last couple days of hearings.  I have sampled several of the hearings. Unfortunately, there is no one asking hard questions looking out for the tax payers money. 

Below are the video of the Council's budget hearings.  I am disappointing to see the B&F chair say that questions must be restricted to budget items.  A factor in determining to cut or not cut a departments budget may be how well they operate and how responsive they are to the members of the Council and the public. That line of questioning should not be prohibited. About the only tool the Council has to influence a departments operations is the power of the purse.

I am sure there are few who would want to watch all of the budget hearings.  I will not watch them all either but will sample those that interest me most. If anyone finds something that is of particular interest, please leave a comment and note the timestamp of what you think is worth watching.

The departments listed in bold typeface below are those that need close scrutiny. 

Day 1, May 9, 2016, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

  • 4:00 p.m. Trustee. See Council Budget Hearings Trustee May 9, 2016
  • 4:15 p.m. Assessor of Property. (This is the year of a mass reapprasial which should make this hearing interesting. Also, the Department head making the budget request lost his reelection and will not be the Department head in the coming year. Assessor of Property is one of those State mandated "constitutional offices" that have has an elected office holder as head of the Department. While its funding comes from Metro Government, the Department has more autonomy than a department that reports to the Mayor. Register of Deeds, County Clerk and Sheriff or other similar offices.)
  • 4:30 p.m. Register of Deeds. See Council Budget Hearings Register of Deeds May 9, 2016.
  • 4:45 p.m. County Clerk (This Department gets much of its revenues from fees generated by the department for such things as marriage license and auto license plates.)
  • 5:00 p.m. Metro Water Services (Since metro water operates off their own funds, they get very little oversight and scrutiny. I do not know if things have changed in recent years but at one time Water was a dumping ground for employees that no one wanted but did not want to fire. When an agency operates off of its own fees, that they are not competing for the same dollars as other departments, so their is little pressure to hold down cost.) See Council Budget Hearings Water Services May 9, 2016
  • 5:15 p.m. Human Resources and Benefit Board. See Council Budget Hearings Human Resources May 9, 2016.
  • 5:30 p.m. ITS & Metro 3. See Council Budget Hearings ITS May 9, 2016.
  • 5:45 p.m. Election Commission. See Council Budget Hearings Election Commission May 9, 2016.   
Day 2, May 10, 2016, 4:00 PM - 6:15 PM 
      4:00 p.m. Municipal Auditorium (If Municipal Auditorium cannot break even, we need to sell this valuable piece of downtown property.)
    • 4:45 p.m. Convention Center4:30 p.m. Chamber of Commerce (Much of what they do benefits the whole region yet we pick up the tab.) 
    • 5:00 p.m. Planning Commission
    • 5:15 p.m. Historical Commission
    • 5:30 p.m. Codes Administration 
    • 5:45 p.m. Fairgrounds (It will be interesting to see if Mayor Barry continues the effort of Mayor Dean to abolish the Fair Grounds and dispose of the property. There is also the issue of gun shows at the Fair Grounds.)
    • 6:00 p.m. Farmers Market (Farmers Market continues to be money pit and cannot cover their operating cost. Unless they can do so soon, I think it is time for major changes at the Farmers Market, including perhaps moving it to the Fair Grounds and making it a real farmers market.
    Day 3, May 11, 2016

    Day 4 May 12, 2016 
    The Council Budget Hearings from May 12, 2016. Scheduled: State Trial Courts, General Sessions Court, JIS, Circuit Court Clerk, Clerk and Master, Criminal Court Clerk, Juvenile Court, Juvenile Court Clerk, Public Defender, District Attorney, General Services & Fleet Management
    Day 5, May 18. 23016
    • 4:00 p.m. Emergency Management
    • 4:15 p.m. Fire & EMS
    • 4:30 p.m. Emergency Communications
    • 4:45 p.m. Sheriff's Office
    • 5:15 p.m. Police
    • 5:30 p.m. Beer Board
    • 5:45 p.m. Office of Family Safety

    Day 6, May 19th, 2016
    •  4:00 p.m. Library
    • 4:15 p.m. Parks and Recreation
    • 4:30 p.m. Arts Commission
    • 4:45 p.m. Public Works
    • 5:15 p.m. Metro Transit Authority

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