Is There a Capital Budget in our future? Or the Present?

I don't the answer to this and being to lazy to go down and find out, I pose the question here.

If we do, and I had assumed we always had one, why have not the infrastructure issues been addressed thru the putting aside of adequate monies every year until there is enough to do these jobs! We should have been focusing on doing this for the past two decades and NOT ROBBING the money to do some "feel good" enterprises.

The Harbors dept. has for a long time been the only revenue producing entity among the town departments, yet all the income produced has done very little to enhance their "charges" i.e attending to mooring fields, pump out boat maintenance and acquisition, keeping the harbors in good order. And this is because they just can't "keep" the money to do the things that needed being done. They had to go begging for funds for virtually anything.

This little burg is in dire need of some entity who will go around, and with a microscope, search out internally and externally, every building in the town's inventory and write down ALL the discrepancies and what needs to be done to rectify them in a timely manner.

At one time there was a Town wide person who attended to problems as they were brought to his attention in a hap hazard manner. A lot of the little picayune, niggling things got done but by and large the things that cost thousands and needed more than one person to do them were swept under the rug or tossed on the heap of "things to get done just before they fall apart"! That is no way to run a town or a ship. While I was in the USN, every building,vehicle, ship, airplane, and boat was on a plan called the PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PLAN! The key word there being "preventative"!

I did this job for the BI School Dept. for one year. It took about 6 weeks of intense scrutiny to find all the hidden problems, and then another month or so to draw up a preventative maint. plan for every bathroom, classroom, all heating equipment, A/C equipment, every electric motor, valve, knob and switch in the building. We streamlined the supply ordering process so that all consumables were ordered between two and three times a year instead of every other day all year long!

SO what is the answer? Hire a Public Works director to coordinate all this stuff and pay him
$50-80K a year? Then hire the person to do it all? At another $30-50k? My solution would be to look around at the locals and find someone that is a carpenter,plumber, electrician, etc. you know, the Jack-of-all-trades guy, pay him a good salary and then keep the building inspector off his ass and let him do the job. Get it inspected if need be. The friggin bureaucrats are what is dragging us into the quagmire in this country! TIFN


Old NFO said...

Good point Ev, "preventive' maintenance is just that, and if you don't your cost is going to be a LOT higher. I'd hire one guy and turn him loose (ex-military preferred as they actually know how to do PM).

Sam said...

Good post, Ev. I'm not going to say out little town is a bit better, but last year's City Charter was fashioned to require:

1. A capital improvements program to cover the next 5 years, to be submitted to council by the city manager

2. A requirement for all city revenue streams to make a "goal" of 6 months of reserves so they are self-sustaining

3. Performance plans from each department that can identify problems, corrective actions, and preventative maintenance (note this is not about employee performance reviews, which are private under state law).

Other initiatives, which weren't part of the Charter but are good ones, are to require "streamlined permitting" because of all the various committees, boards, and approvals required to build anything. Some features (by ordinance) require a permit to be approved within 30 days of application if the committee hasn't acted.

Finally, some cities (well a village really) got to where they were spending tens of thousands on consultant studies which were never used. Taxpayers hate this, and would rather see roads maintained instead of some futuristic plans that will never happen.

Remember, those town workers, managers, and committee members are supposed to be "public servants" and not the other way around!