Budget time in Parkersburg

It’s that time of year when city government begins work on their upcoming budget for the period of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. Each will talk about planning for the needs of the future, and telling its residents that they need additional funds to support their new initiatives/vision of the future, yet they continue to operate as they have done in the past. That being increasing taxes, increasing fees and increasing their spending. Unfortunately, this only increases the city debt, and repeating the process over again next year, and expecting different results is how one defines insanity.

Instead of running the city as if there were endless funds in its checking account, city officials need to step back and examine what is currently in place and determine whether the city needs to change with the changing times so as to not burden or push out its residents because the city is not being held financially accountable for their actions/lack thereof. Business has had to change and adapt in order to survive; city government should do so as well before it files for BANKRUPTCY one day.

Listed are some initiatives that the city should adopt to help control its costs going forward:

* End the traditional pension. Most traditional pensions have been ended, and the calculated annuity value of that pension moved to an employees’ IRA or 401(k) in order to eliminate this huge liability.

* Pass more of the health care cost onto the employee. This does NOT get offset with merit increases so salary compression is a fact of reality.

* No vacation day carryover.

* Reduce the number of employee vacation days based on the years of service. Cap at four or five weeks max.

* Reduce the number of city observed holidays.

* Eliminate employees from using non-used sick days as vacation days.

* Merit increases are NOT automatic. They could be delayed or not awarded in a given year. Need to be linked to achieving defined city goals.

* As employees retire and new hires are brought on board, they should be multi-skilled. The city should not be paying for outside services when people in a role(s) should have the skill set to do that work.

This is how the real world lives, adapts and survives. Our city government should operate/be held to the same standards.

Henry Sasyn