How much work is there for Planning or Public Works
These departments have to be the toughest to cover. To some extent, there isn’t a profitability factor when it comes to items in the general fund. While the budget covers the expenses, I do not know the revenues. So it is hard for me to come to conclusions about the profitability for each center. Take for example the building inspection department. We know from the U.S. Census Bureau that there were 238 building permits pulled in 2009, however, the taxpayers coughed up $813,723 for this past budget year (we all know there were fewer buildings done this year than last). Not knowing the revenue, we can only assume our losses.
If you look at the permit fees we can guestimate our losses. Let’s say we had 200 permits pulled last year (I think that is very high). Let’ say the average size home was 3500 sf (also high). That would make our total collections: 200 homes * ((.15*2500)+(.12*1000))= $99,000. This would be a loss of $714,723!
The Public Works department is just as hard to figure. Some items like road maintenance are fundamental drains on the general fund, but they are critical and necessary functions that need to be done by the government. However, they do have a revenue component in their enterprise funds (pp.6). The enterprise fund is based on two components: Landfill and Sewer. Both funds look to be tapping into their reserves to balance the budget. However, it is the Landfill fund that is doing the most tapping at the rate of $1.1m. What makes this even more concerning is that the commissioners used the reserves to pay retirements. So now it would appear that our property taxes are going to have to cover the loss in the short term.
Building and inspection along with landfill operations have to be looked at. The budget would seem to show that they are major drains on our taxes. I don’t know if the answer is outsourcing or rightsizing, but something has to be done. I would say that there is over $1.5m opportunity here. While I haven’t been keeping a tally, I think I have found enough to meet the budget gap and maybe even squirrel a little away for the future. At this point, I am starting to think that a Vote for Hugh Akston campaign may be in our future….. Nah, who would want the headache?
Hugh Hall County Akston