As I work with City staff and your City Council to , I want to share my general budget philosophies with you.
With a volatile economy, our residents and the City have limited resources. We need to use our money and resources wisely. Here's how I look at it:
- Focus on the basics and the core missions of City government: streets, sewers, infrastructure, the library, public safety (police and fire) and economic development.
- Identify and implement efficiencies within City operations, including coordination with other governments and not-for-profit agencies.
- Seek a balanced operating budget.
- Maintain adequate cash reserves for unforeseen events.
As long as , consider using spare reserves for one-time capital asset improvements. Using reserves to cover yearly operating shortfalls, however, is not a wise approach and should only be considered in times of emergency. These have been and continue to be tenets of the City's financial policies.
Our library is a perfect example of a core priority and capital asset that has been neglected. The library is the single most used city facility with over 1,100 visitors per day. There are significant structural repairs that have been ignored for years. Investing in the library, one of our key City buildings now will benefit residents for decades to come.
The Council has yet to determine how to fund these overdue capital improvements (that is, whether to use excess reserves for all or part of the work) and will be discussing the alternatives over the next few weeks.
As we continue our discussions about the Budget, I'll be sending you updates. In addition, you can watch our on-going Budget workshop discussions on Channel 10.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and ideas about the budget and other issues around town. Email me at email@example.com.
Highland Park Mayor