Government Budgeting for Dummies

March 29, 2008

Cover 7-12
In July 2007, we published our Ballsy Plan IV – Government Budgeting for Dummies

I reviewed the article this morning and found we weren’t too far off with some of our ideas:

1. PRIVATIZE AND SAVE CASH Neither Pensacola nor Escambia County needs a large legal department. Pensacola spends $727,300 on its attorney and legal department. The county attorney’s office has a $1.5 million budget. We live in the land of attorneys. Surely, we can bid this out and save some money.

2. GET OUT OF GARBAGE The ECUA, Pensacola and Escambia County handle garbage, as well as a half dozen private contractors.

3. PAY FAIR & SQUARE City residents shouldn’t pay for county fire protection or law enforcement.

4. VOTE ON FIRE SAFETY Escambia County tries to provide fire protection on the cheap. The IN brain trust proposes that each fire district in Escambia County vote on its funding source. Let the voters decide how important fire protection is for them.

5. ATTACK THE REAL PROBLEMS Escambia County has one of the lowest literacy rates in Florida. It also has some of the worse health outcomes in the state. Yet the county spends a paltry $3 million on its library system and an unconscionable $400,000 on the Escambia Community Clinics.

6. COMMUNICATE AND SURVEY New York City Mayor Ed Koch was famous for walking around his gritty city and asking people, “How’m I doing?”

7. ANNEXATION We brought this up last year. It still deserves consideration. Escambia County’s huge budget is partially because the county is trying to provide city-quality services to its urban areas.

8. MORE CITY DENSITY Let’s assume much-needed annexation doesn’t happen. Pensacola still has a problem of a shrinking population. We propose that the city re-examine its density requirements to allow more people to live within the city limits..

9. CONSOLIDATE Recent IN articles have calculated that the budgets of Escambia County and Pensacola combined total $692 million. There has got to be room for some consolidation of some of these duplicative departments.