Between the tax freeze on the Denton ballot and moves in Austin toward taking taxing control away from cities, like it or not there is a fair chance that Denton will be facing tighter budgets in years to come. The economic growth we’re experiencing will offset some of that. But we’ll need the right leadership to cope effectively with the rest.
Now most city functions fall under budget headings that everyone including me supports–Police, Fire, Libraries, Parks, etc. And we’re often told that any kind of budget tightening means cutting these services. But that assumes we already have a lean operation working at optimal efficiency. That may or may not be the case.
My four-step approach to fiscal discipline is what I would be advocating whether austerity was coming or not–in the interest of not wasting your family’s money. By measuring programs against targets, asking department managers where the least citizen-affecting cuts can be made, performing a span of control audit to find wasteful administrative overheads that can be consolidated, and inspecting job descriptions for possible consolidation, we should be able to do more with less.
In my thirty years as a corporate exec I’ve been through plenty of lean years and restructurings. There is a disciplined way to do these things to do the least harm. I’m prepared to provide the kind of managerial oversight to the new City Manager and City Auditor to help us weather whatever may come, focusing resources efficiently where they do the most good.