In a previous post, I mentioned the LeBel-Senter discussion on May 31 about council's $15,000 travel budget for 2012. LeBel wanted to see that item eliminated. Senter wanted to keep it.
[Kay Senter has been a prolific traveler in the past on the city taxpayer's dime and may want to dip into that line item beginning in July 2011 due to her upcoming coronation as president of TML (Tennessee Municipal League)]
After the LeBel-Senter traveltalk, newly-elected Councilman Chris Bivens showed that he has jumped into his new job with hands-on budget research. For 2012, City Administrator Tony Cox had included purchase of a new articulating loader for the City--a $140,000 piece of equipment.
Bivens saved the City taxpayers $120,000 by going and looking at the current loader and talking to one or more of the city's mechanics. Bivens found out that the current loader is in excellent shape and would be "just like new" with a new engine at $10,000 or so.
Council discussed the matter and decided that they could get the new engine and even throw in a new $10,000 transmission and for $20,000---instead of $140,000--the City would have an excellent piece of equipment!
Bivens thought most other new equipment purchases were OK although there was some small discussion of purchasing new computers for Parks and Rec and eliminating one piece of equipment.
After Bivens came up with the $120,000 in savings, no one criticized Bivens for "micromanaging" the city's budget. Now if every councilmember would get in there--like councilmember Bivens did--and come up with similar savings. Of course, you can't find savings if you don't look and ask questions, and most councilmembers have not even tried to find savings in this year's budget.