Sunday, August 9, 2020

Beacon Center Lists Germantown Last in "Cost of Government" Index

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is a non-partisan, libertarian, non-profit that acts as a watchdog for government spending and individual freedoms. It ranks Germantown #30 out of 30 Cities in "Cost of Government", behind even Nashville, which rates #29 in that category, and Memphis at #28.

Besides "cost of government", three other categories were measured (Germantown ranks in parenthesis) --free enterprise (#20), private property (#14), and individual liberty (#16).

Overall Nashville, and Memphis and its suburbs are at the bottom of the rankings. Memphis ranks #25, and Germantown #26.

"Germantown did poor because it spends a lot on taxpayer funded lobbying money. Its debt is very high per person. It’s actually higher than Memphis believe it or not," said Shultis.  Link 

This poor rating comes out at an opportune time, as there is a small window of opportunity for citizens to express their feelings about the City budget. Instructions for commenting are at the bottom of this post.  

In this year's budget, tucked away in the capital expenditure budget for the Parks, is a mere $50,000 for due diligence and down payment on acreage south of Winchester for a sports complex. This complex is projected to need an annual subsidy of $200.000 to $300,000 per year. I understand that the City needs more athletic fields to meet the needs of the citizens, but the City should make the case for that need, and also give citizens a range of options that do not necessarily include tournament level fields. The City already supports other enterprises, such as GPAC, and GAC, the Great Hall, the Pickering Center, and The Hay Barn. All of these will need funds from general expenditures because of the pandemic. They also suffer during recessions.  The good news I guess is that at least our "cost of government" rating cannot go lower than dead last. Because of budget issues, the City has cut back and put off promised renovations and expansion of the middle school. Shouldn't those funds be prioritized above an athletic complex that will cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars a year?

The time is NOW to express your opinion on these issues. There is an on-line meeting tomorrow on the budget, and the City is seeking public comment. From the City--
The budget does not include a merit increase for general government employees. There are no plans for layoffs. Vacant positions will be left open.  

Perhaps this would be a good time to abandon the vacation buyback policy. Under that policy, employees can substantially increase their pay by foregoing vacation days. This has the added expense of inflating retirement pay, which is computed on the last three years of salary, and that includes vacation buybacks.

I wonder what a "general government employee" is. My feeling is that employees at the managerial level should not receive raises when the "general" employee does not.

However you feel, please be a good citizens and express your viewpoint. From the City:

Anyone wishing to speak for or against this request is invited to participate. Submittals, 500 words or less, emailed to prior to noon on August 10 will be delivered to all members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen prior to the 6 p.m. meeting. Comments must include the name, address and phone number of the person submitting. 
Board of Mayor and Aldermen Meeting August 10

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