RUNNING A TOWN LIKE A BUSINESS
Dr. Helen Miller once stated she wished to run the Town as a business would run. The Town is so broke under the Bullard-Tebo Reign that we have had charge the citizens higher rates than are necessary for sewer usage and use credit cards to pay bills. All money received seems to be going on legal expenses AND TOWN HALL NOT ONLY DOES NOT PROVIDE FINANCIAL REPORTS AT COUNCIL MEETINGS BUT DO NOT TELL US ONE IOTA ABOUT HOW THE TOWN IS RUN.
We already know that none of the council persons except for Dr. Miller and possibly Walter McKenzie may read financial statements.
Let’s pretend that the Town may someday operate as a business and utilize the profit center concept. This would mean each department would have to maintain their own checks and balances and report to the town manager monthly. Each profit center would run their own operations and be responsible for the maintenance and repair of their own automobiles or equipment or allocated space. It would determine whether or not the profit center was operating at a profit or loss. If operating at a loss, the department head would have to approach the Town Manager and the Town officials (council persons) to make a determination of what is necessary to remedy the situation.
FIRST PROFIT CENTER – THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
- Currently the Police Department’s projected expenses are $205,482 for 2013 to 2014. The Police Department consists of a chief, a lieutenant, and two officers. Yet, their total revenue for fines and parking tickets is $2,205 in the 2013-2014 Budget. The town also included another $3,700 for licenses and permits however it is unknown if this listing pertains to the Police Department revenues. I didn’t have the 2015-17 figures at my fingertips. But we will use the 2013-14 as a model.
- This would be a department an actual business would consider dropping for other options. Most Towns the size of White Springs or larger in population have one police chief who officially is on duty on nights. Most of the time if one calls the chief and it involves a town official or prominent person, he asks that one call the Sheriff’s office for assistance; he does not patrol the area; and a receptionist could handle the calls and paperwork. We now currently have excellent officers but they must answer to the chief and the chief to Tebo so they have not gotten rid of the Drug Sellers or the Brothels to this date.. Nevertheless, for a town our size, there is no need for four individuals to police the area when we have the Sheriff’s deputies.
- If the town wishes to retain all police officers at a loss to the Town, then that department must take in extra duties which will develop revenues to cover education, salaries, insurance, office maintenance and equipment, as well as maintenance on police’ vehicles. Of course there is a value to keep People safe, but in White Springs that value has been removed because Bullard, Jefferson, Tebo and Brown do not feel it needs to be done. Rather White Springs keeps it’s bad reputation.
- The police Department then should be in charge of all LDR Compliances, Sign Permits and charge for special details. This would mean that if Helen Miller needed a police escort, she would have to pay for it personally or ask permission of the Town Council. If a police officer was required to be at a council meeting to sit next to Joe or to guard the town, they would be paid for their time by the town, similar to the Town paying an attorney to sit there. If required to patrol special events, they would be paid by the respective parties or such would be allocated to their profit center account. It is time the Town received money for their officers and chief’s assistance. And if it is an event the Town must add the funds under the Police Department budget for said protection.
- The main revenue source of the police department would be that of enforcing all ordinances, not just ordinance violations of those not considered special folks. If this would have been the case from the very beginning, it would not have taken seventeen years to handle such compliances. The town has lost substantial funds in fines and permits because of their fear of compliance.
- Law enforcement should mean enforcement of the ordinances and the ability to act. Therefore such monies would not have to be taken out of the Town Administrative Account. According to the budget, having a police department rather than hiring outside officers or paying for the Sheriff’s Department’s assistance, is a total loss, so it is suggested they handle the compliance and enforcement of ordinances in order to become profitable and pay for their expenses. Animal control should also be handled by the police department.
WATER AND SEWER FACILITY PROFIT CENTER
- Andrew Green’s would handle the water quality; the chemicals used and his profit center would include the truck he is allocated for maintenance BUT NOT THE FIRE TRUCK AND HE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO TAKE ANY TOWN TRUCK HOME; ONLY TO AND FROM TOWN HALL and fuel. His profit center would also be responsible the sewer plant facility debt based upon the revenues received from charging customers monthly fees, as well as his salary.
- Currently Green’s and Ronnie Vaughn’s Public Works areas are combined. It is my suggestion that Vaughn have his own profit centers for the work which he performs and a portion of his salary which pertains to sewer maintenance come from Green’s profit center.
- Green’s center would be responsible for the meter reader’s salary or portion thereof dependent upon whether the meter reader handles other tasks for Vaughn..
- It would be easier to hire an independent contractor for approximately $18,000 for the Sewer and Water Plants and retain our meter reader only. Then we would not have to pay workers compensation or be responsible for it’s experience, medical insurance and profit sharing.
SEWER MAINTENCE; GENERAL MAINTENANCE -PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT A separate profit center
- Ronnie Vaughn, Public Works Supervisor, should handle the maintenance operations including those areas of sewer and water which he currently handles such as the replacement of pipes; Revenues would be allocated to his center for work at the sewer plant facility, all maintenance services; backhoe services, and prisoner services, etc . His salary would be paid by all departments utilizing his services.
- He also would be responsible for the chair rentals from the community center (renting not giving for free). Any such fees for all services and delivery charges received from the customer would be allocated to his department.
- If the town utilizes Vaughn’s services for street repair or sidewalk repair, the town must allocate such money for his services to the Vaughn’s profit center.
Other than for CPA services, Pam’s salary would be covered by the hourly services she performs for billings relating to each profit center (i.e. Licensing of golf carts to the Police Station; Sewer and Water billings and collections to Green’s area and tree removal or other services required which would fit in Vaughn’s department to the Maintenance Profit Center. I believe the Town now takes 25%.
We still would be better to farm out our accounting services to an experienced accountant without having employee benefits.
TOWN ADMINISTRATION SERVICES:
- The final profit center shall include the Town’s administrative expenses and salaries. Its revenues SOURCES shall consist of property or Ad valorem taxes of $67,000; gas taxes of $34,000; Franchise and utility taxes of $129,716; intergovernmental grants of $159,752 if such grants appertain solely to the administration and maintenance of the City; Licenses and Permits not associated with police licenses and permits taxes, other taxes and fees for paperwork required by citizens etc.
- The town should charge vendors fees for use of Town Property at events and require the appropriate insurance listing the Town as an additional insured and holding the Town harmless for the Vendor’s operations.The Town does not need a public attorney at each and every meeting but would retain such an attorney for legal purposes if required. The Town officials should follow the law and not allow future corruption.
- Since the Fire Department protects the properties for which the town collects taxes, as long as it is a Volunteer Fire Department all expenses thereof shall be the responsibility of the Town’s administrative profit center. We need more than a one day fire chief (that is if even the Chief we have now shows up) and we should have a full time paid fire chief and possibly one paid assistant fire chief which is not Greene.
- The Fire Department ledger should include all money received for firefighting, and any events held so the Fire Chief would know what could be spent on equipment and what could not based upon a decent budget.
Again the importance of the Fire department is far more important to the Citizens of White Springs and we would not be in the bind we are today if the Town of WS would have realized this prior to the dilemma we have today.
The Police Department in comparing revenues to the salaries for all police officers and reserves of $98,114 plus COPS Grant expenses and Law Enforcement Block Grant expenses, insurance and retirement contributions etc. is a LOSS in comparison to the REVENUES received of $2,205. Jennings which has a population of 100 in excess of White Spring’s population has only one officer. If the Town’s officials are that fearful of its own citizens that they need an overabundance of police officers, this is a problem. And the officials made this a problem because many are afraid of the drug dealers and users and the types of people utilizing brothels in this tow. If the Town wishes to retain its police department personnel, then the Police Department must earn additional revenues by enforcing ordinances and charging the appropriate fines and fees. Monthly budgets must be reviewed by each profit center supervisor and brought forth to the City Manager and subsequently to the council persons to make a determination of profits and losses and the reasons thereof.
We also need a Police Chief who follows the law instead of lying to retain his or her job.
Karin for the blog