Learn from businesses

Published: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 24, 2003 at 11:45 p.m.

I believe the budget crisis faced by our governments is as much caused by attitude as by economics. A most egregious example is the annexation budget crisis here in Alachua County.

Our county officials tell us they are facing a $26 million shortfall, which is due in large part to the annexation of tax-paying properties by the city. What political hogwash! The annexation has not affected the total amount of tax money collected nor has it affected the total land area, population or services provided. It has merely changed the accounting for them.

In industry, a company would not tell its customers it needs to raise prices due to a reorganization; rather, management would tell the department heads to figure out how to reallocate their resources to get the job done. The city and county need to work together to get their job done.

Perhaps in the frenzy to justify another tax increase, our commissioners have forgotten that there are many options available to them. For instance they could consolidate various services like fire rescue and law enforcement. They could transfer personnel from a county department to a city department. The person still gets paid and the job still gets done at the same cost.

The city needs two new commissioners due to size increase; the county could eliminate two commissioners for the same reason. These commissioners could then get re-employed as city commissioners.

If the county has a $26 million shortfall due to annexation, and then the city has a $26 million windfall. The city could pay the county $26 million to provide the services they had in the past.

Consolidation has been 'discussed' for as long as I've been a Gainesville resident with no progress. In industry, if a department head said that it was too difficult to reorganize, he would be told to do it or someone who can do it will replace him. Our city and county governments need to start acting like a business.

I say to our commissioners, don't come to me begging for more of my money. You have enough money to do the job; go do it and quit whining.

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