by Thomas Breen | Feb 15, 2019 7:58 am | Comments (21)
Cut cop pensions and increase their salaries.
Add more disincentives to leave the department.
Shake down suburban departments when they do poach city officers.
Maybe lower the minimum age to become a police officer? Or maybe not.
Continue reading ‘Ideas Floated On How To Keep A Cop’
by Thomas Breen | Feb 12, 2019 8:03 am | Comments (28)
With a mixture of resignation, frustration, and cautionary instruction, alders unanimously signed off on spending over $3 million reserved for debt service on shoring up the police and fire overtime budgets instead.
Continue reading ‘Alders Sign Off On $3M Debt-To-OT Budget Transfer’
by Thomas Breen | Feb 11, 2019 2:55 pm | Comments (8)
Halfway through the fiscal year, city spending is down in just about every department and in just about every budget line item in comparison to this time last year.
The notable exceptions: Pension payments. Self-insurance. Worker’s compensation. And police overtime, which continues to balloon as officers leave the force.
Continue reading ‘Dep’t Spending Drops; Pension Costs Rise’
by Thomas Breen | Feb 4, 2019 1:02 pm | Comments (11)
Nobody likes vacant lots. But publish an online map identifying city-owned lots, and maybe more residents will come forward to buy, build, and return them to tax rolls.
That and other land management recommendations arose during a conversation with city staff about boosting revenue and cutting costs.
Continue reading ‘“People’s Budget” Targets Empty Lots’
by Thomas Breen | Jan 25, 2019 7:38 am | Comments (8)
Mohit Agrawal saw something strange as he flipped through the latest city monthly financial report.
“The numbers look pretty good,” the budget watchdog said. “Am I reading this right?”
Continue reading ‘City “Bends” Health Care Curve’
by Thomas Breen | Jan 15, 2019 12:31 pm | Comments (6)
The state will fund nearly $11 million in urgent repairs for three downtown parking garages, but only if the city agrees not to sell those garages for a decade.
Continue reading ‘Parking Garages Not For Sale’
by Thomas Breen | Jan 15, 2019 7:55 am | Comments (4)
A building code inspector notices a leaky roof, or a contractor working without a permit. Instead of reaching for a pen and a pad of paper, she uses a tablet with a camera and internet access to document the issue.
Those electronic notes are then plotted on a map, where both building department colleagues and officials citywide can track and address the needs of city residents as they crop up in real time.
City officials laid out that utopia of tech-assisted municipal services as they convinced alders of the merits of two new Information Technology (IT) contracts.
Continue reading ‘Pitch Promises Paperless Problem-Solving’
by Thomas Breen | Jan 7, 2019 7:29 am | Comments (5)
The city will likely spend $5 million less than anticipated on a rebuild of the Department of Public Works (DPW) headquarters, even though the projected cost of the project is now $5 million more than originally budgeted.
That’s thanks to $10 million in state bond money for a demolition and construction project.
Continue reading ‘State Sending City $10M For New DPW HQ’
by Thomas Breen | Dec 11, 2018 7:33 am | Comments (2)
The city’s Health Department plans to contract with a Middletown-based nurse temp agency to make up for a rash of unexpected vacancies and illnesses among city nurses — right at flu-shot crunch time.
Continue reading ‘Shots Needed — & Nurses Are Out’
by Thomas Breen | Dec 4, 2018 12:13 pm | Comments (5)
The two city pensions are each currently funded at around 40 percent, leaving roughly $700 million in unfunded liabilities.
A new task force consisting of alders, city staff, and pension fund trustees aims to try to figure out how that happened, as well as how to get those funding levels up.
Continue reading ‘Task Force Eyes $700M Pension Hole’