To the Editor:
Mayor Smith at the Dec.17 council meeting presented budget cuts that he would institute to lower the 2008-2009 municipal budget. I admire him in submitting budget cuts, but he is using smoking mirrors in doing so! Why didn’t he ask Council President Vincent LoRe what budget cuts have been made by the City Council? Is he doing all this with his transition team and ignoring the City Council? If so, why?
I do not agree with Mayor Smith that police and firemen should be laid off; with terrorism that prevails today, it should be the last thing to do. I do agree that something should be drastically done regarding the financial running of our public safety department. The city population has declined from 82,000 people in the 1960s to the present population of 58,000 people. But yet, we have more city workers today. Why?
I do not believe that our city fire department should have a work schedule of one day on and three days off. I do not agree that the police department should work four days on and four days off. Taxpayers cannot afford to pay for the manpower to operate these schedules. Mayor Smith knows this because he was part of the system.
Mayor Smith proposes a one-week furlough of all civilian employees. This is an unnecessary hardship on career city employees. Will he do the same to political appointed employees? The very first thing that the mayor should do is eliminate non-essential employees. A good example of this is to eliminate the public information officer and save $100,000! Eliminate the public works director and save another $100,000! You can go on and on into millions of dollars to eliminate what should never have prevailed.
Mayor Smith, why propose an audit to ensure the city employees are placed in appropriate jobs? This is a joke. When an applicant applies and is accepted for a city position, he or she is told the salary, the working hours and is given a description of the duties to be performed. Please tell us, Mayor Smith, what is going on here?
The mayor wants the city to charge the Board of Education $1 million a year to lease Veterans Stadium. Mayor Smith, they are not the New York Giants! They will also pay an additional $1.5 million for utilities and for garbage disposal. Mayor Smith should realize that our public school system operates on the 60 percent of our city taxes that is given to them to operate our public school system. What we take from them we have to give back to them. To make up for the loss of $2.5 million, the B.O.E. will take out a bond. Who pays for the bond? Not the B.O.E. The city pays for the bond!
You never said anything about taking over the infamous BLRA. Nor did you mention anything about a study regarding benefits for working and retired city and school workers. Will you put a freeze on taking out new bonds? We are confused by what our public spokesman stated, “I cautioned the dollar figures listed in the plan are meant to be financial goals.” Mayor Smith, you state they are cuts. Mr. Ryan states they are financial goals! As Bugs Bunny would say, “What’s up, doc?”
LEONARD R. KANTOR