Better budgeting methodology available/needed

Our city’s elected is currently developing the biennial budget for calendar years 2019-20. They are using something called “Priority Budgeting”, which they have neglected to tell their constituency exactly what it is and why it’s being used. Is it the results of a boondoggle trip to another city for an idea to foist on tax payers or to accommodate their vision of the village, sanctuary city and/or other social issues? Only they know. It seems that need and catastrophic events/acts of God dictates priorities so there are much better, wiser budgeting plans out there such as Incentive Budgeting — that pays dividends in savings.

Incentive budgeting works and has the tendency to make all parties, department managers, staff, council, mayor and support personnel cost conscious and taxpayers are the benefactors through a more efficient city. Department managers are assigned negotiated budgets with the built in attendant incentives to meet the budget in which case rewards aren’t earned. However, when departments come in under budget there are built in incentives in which all departmental personnel shares in the reward. It has the desirable effect of making all personnel mentally cost conscious when they might not otherwise be so inclined.

Anyone who is paying attention to our elected’s authorized expenditures of late is acutely aware of the anticipated budget short falls they have foisted on themselves and the yet to be tax increases on city tax payers. Incentive budgeting has the tendency to keep department heads on their toes to meet budget requirements and would penalize any departmental budget overruns with reduced budgets the following year when such overruns aren’t justified or granted by the council.

The general state of our city’s financial status, horrendous planned expenditures and the attendant taxes needed to meet that plan, some taxes already levied and more to come to pay for the over ambitious plan of our elected, suggests that every opportunity for a more efficient and less costly budgeting system is needed such as incentive budgeting.

A detailed questionnaire mailer is needed for the city to obtain the direction Tukwila taxpayers want their city to go and the city’s outreach results two percent or so of voters would maybe perhaps augment the ideas the mailers (grass root voter’s ideas) would obtain. The idea sounds too good to be true.

Still no city explanation of how the lowball $77 million General Obligation Bond for the ambitious building plan was derived which was about half of what is anticipated to be required. A gargantuan miss for which taxpayers’ will foot the bill for this costly mistake. Our elected can, should and must do better.

Bill Holstine



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