I fussed a little with myself about whether to post this link to the city budget for 2010-11, but figure it’s public information, there are no social security numbers or other personal information listed, and residents have a right to know what’s being spent and how so here it is… in a minute.
Before you get the link, here’s some of my (very) limited budget knowledge.Â You’ll see items like “depreciation” – all physical property depreciates.Â Your car does it, your lawn mower does it, your tv does it.Â There is a life expectancy on everything (including yourself!) so don’t get all wound up over those items… it has to show up somewhere.
The line items are budgeted expenditures, however some of the first pages do include revenue and revenue sources.Â Remember that the salaries, wages, etc. will include benefits like retirement, health insurance, dental etc. so don’t immediately think that “THEY MAKE WHAAAAT?” because believe me, they don’t.Â Sadly, this budget looks pretty bare bones to me with the exception of some bonuses, but I support those.Â That’s a great way to boost morale and if it’s in the budget already, go for it.
You’ll see some items listed in parenthesis. I was curious about those and believe they may be unfilled positions.Â The money is there for the positions, but if there is a temporary vacancy (let’s say a meter reader or maintenance or police officer quits, it takes time to hire someone else), it will show up but as “unspent” ergo (10,000) (or whatever).Â I *think* that’s what those may be.
Here’s my question… does the city have a Budget Committee or a Budget Oversight Committee or do department heads put together their own budgets?
Now to my big big issue of this whole budget and recent conversation when I was out of town… if Smyrna has 108 fire fighters and we have 19, what’s wrong with this picture?Â What do our police numbers looks like compared to neighboring comparably sized cities?Â How many cars do we have? We need to take a VERY CLOSE look at our budget to see how we can better protect our citizens with more officers and fire fighters.Â Those side-by-side numbers are… well… look… firefighters: 108 v. 19.Â It’s like a punch in the stomach to see that.Â Talk about a wake-up call / reality check.
If residents of LaVergne aren’t absolutely appalled at that number and make their voices known at the polls this fall, then NOTHING will wake them up.Â If I were running for office, this would be one of my MAJOR issues.Â How can it be fixed?Â How can we be protected as residents of the community in the event of a major disaster?Â Isn’t the fundamental purpose of government to provide safety and protect property? That’s why in its most basic form we have government in the first place.Â I think it does good to remember this basic tenet.
108 to 19.
Here’s the Budget2010-11.