Everyone is concerned about DuPont’s fiscal challenges. At the last election, we had to decide whether to raise property taxes in order to fund public safety. In addition, the DHRS audit determined that three city employees were misclassified as independent contractors; as a result, DuPont was fined $600,000. DuPont also owes interest payments to finance the Civic Center and needs to replace $700,000 it took from its equipment maintenance fund to pay other expenses.
These are serious problems. The proposed 2014 budget will further eat into our savings. A lot of rhetoric is being thrown around about how problematic our finances are, but very few practical solutions have been offered.
We need to apply a professional, data driven management approach.
I’ve started two companies and managed software teams. Doing so has taught me how to use resources efficiently to deliver high quality systems for a minimal cost. DuPont’s city council needs my private sector expertise to help get our budget back on track.
Our city is a beautiful, vibrant city with a rich history of financial success. There is no reason we cannot turn around our fiscal problems and become that city again. The city has taken the first step by working to build a forecast for our revenues and expenses. However, we need to make some major changes.
- Get our priorities straight. Whenever a city is in fiscal trouble, it needs to make radical changes to its budget. The first order of business should be to decide what items are non-negotiables that we fund no matter what. I believe public safety should be a non-negotiable. Our current funding levels for the police and fire departments are exposing our community to unacceptable risk.
- Determine how much revenue we need to bring in. Spending cuts aren’t enough, especially once we have our priorities in order. There is not money to fully fund our public safety departments and pay our interest on our Civic Center loans. So as painful as it is, we need to increase revenue or cut expenses. Otherwise we can’t stick to our budget.
- Consider the value we’re getting for our money. DuPont is not investing as well as it could be. We need to consider the return on our investments and how those investments benefit our city. I can help evaluate investments and make sure we’re putting city money in the right place.
This process isn’t easy. It requires commitment, financial expertise and a willingness to look unpleasant financial facts in the face. I’ve done this type of work both in my start ups and as a software team manager; now I want to bring my expertise to city council.