Will You Vote For A 3/4% Renewal or a New Lesser Income Tax If The Renewal Fails In March?

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...but will it also fail in November?

Old South End Broadway

...trust of the people. I wonder what the city has wasted the tax dollars on? Flowers probably account for less than $500,000 of the budget (much less than a 1%) so I wonder where the other money went? The city took on the employee's contribution to their retirement fund (although that is supposed to change), but that probably comes to about $20-$30 million a year, right? The administrators come to about $2 million a year or thereabouts. So I wonder where the rest of the waste is at? Maybe we should be relying on volunteers to do the work of the city. Volunteer police, fire, garbagemen (wow, could I drive the big garbage truck, and run over cars parked along the street, I could use my "government service" immunity). Or maybe contract it out. Garbage, police, street repar. I'd like to get one of them there govment contracts. I'd have it made. I could do a Noe, and it would take a few years to find out.

Old South End Broadway

To answer your question: what has the city wasted tax dollars on. The list is partial, but the facts are completely ignored::

TECHNOLOGY SOFTWARE/EQUIPMENT
EITHER ABANDONED OR UTILIZED FOR OTHER APPLICATIONS

1995 SMS -- System Management Server -- predecessor to purchasing Alitris. Roughly $186,344.86 was spent on this software that was never used.

1996 21 Toshiba laptops were purchased for inspection for $55,803, the laptops were never used. They were stored in a credenza.

Nov. 2000 At the direction of then President of Council Peter Ujvagi and Council Clerk Michael Beazley, purchased the Unisys 6000/UNIX Box terminal servers for a Call Tracking System to be used by City Council & Neighborhoods to track complaints a cost of $81K. It did not work and was never used. It is currently being underutilized as a domain/print server for the UTAX system. $81K wasted.

2000 Data General was purchased for $80K; was under utilized for a very small database that could have been placed on a PC. The equipmen was intended for a GIS application.

July, 2001 One-Stop-Shop: Fujitsu pen tablets for field units,;20 units at $84K. Purchase approved by Ruth Weiss and Building Inspectiors; however, never used. The inspectors would not used them -- did not find them acceptable.

2004 COPSMORE grant purchased 50 Panasonic Touch Books for $239,818. The equipment was purchased even though it would not function because they realized "hot spots" needed to be installed before the system would work. This purchase was never authorized/approved by ICT. The COPSMORE grant was established in 2001; spending was a condition to renew the grant.

...how much the city is planning to spend on flowers this year. I turned off the "whole word" filter, and expected to find at least some entry for these words. Nothing. There was an entry for one horticultural position at $40,000 per year. And there was an entry for tree planting at $52,000 a year. But nothing about plants or flowers. Maybe the mayor has decided not to spend anything on maintaining the flowers that were planted on the medians last year. Or maybe they (the city administration) wants to make it difficult for citizens to research how the money is being spent. You would have thought there were budget entries for "plants" and "flowers" but there don't seem to be any.

Old South End Broadway

As best I can recall from radio sound byte.

"I have no idea how bills for the City of Toledo get paid. I'm sure Mr. Reinbolt can give you those details."

... that IF by some miracle the levy does fail in March, the City of Toledo would go on a serious service-refusal binge to blatantly scare Toledoans to vote for it in November. They would hit the police and fire ranks like the fist of an angry god, and artificially increase response times to huge levels.

Since Toledoans refuse to place sensible people into political offices, this will never get any better. I truly do hope Toledo government gets squeezed by levy failures, drops in property taxes, and continued and criminal overspending by the political elites and out-of-control city departments ... so that the city would have to fall into Receivership. Then the real cutting can begin.

Anytime you hire a outside attorney that is going to cost millions to handle the Griffin Morehead and the other guys law suite and you have a law department within your administration its crazy. The fact is just like the garabage fee there taxing us the citizens twice. VOTE NO 3/4% IN THE WORDS OF THE MAYOR ITS JUST NOT RIGHT!

rescue me

holding desk jobs remember how to drive a patrol car?

can still see their shoes when they stand up ???

Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.
-James Madison, Federalist No. 10, November 23, 1787

....this and then pay the complainants whatever they wish when we lose. The mayor should have never tried to change the departments in response to a revenue shortage. That should be left up to the electorate via referendums.

Old South End Broadway

...than one related to any particular administration. I notice that the programs and purchases you listed seem to occur before the present administration. Has this systemic failure been corrected? Does the city's government now have someone in charge who can "filter" requests to see if they make any sense?

I also notice that the total of the figures listed come to less than $1 million. In most cases it came to less than $200,000 a year. Since the city says it needs $57-60 million from the income tax renewal where is the remainder of the waste above the $200,000 (for which no examples seem to be listed from the present administration). I could hold FDR accountable for the WPA costs, but what does that have to do with the $9 trillion dollar federal debt accrued during the present Presidential administration? So what do these figures listed have to do with the last year's budget?

One thing I noticed is that the police pension fund for 2008 is $12,658, 685.95, and the fire pension fund is $11,198.077.44. I assume this is the total contribution to the fund including the city’s 8.9% “pickup” of the individual police and firefighter’s contribution. So the city is picking up an additional $2, 123,251.94 out of the total pension contributions of the city of $23,856,763.03. I guess the $2,123,251.94 city contribution (that many people feel the city shouldn’t contribute) is enough to sink the renewal of the ¾% income tax renewal.

Old South End Broadway

I agree, the problem IS systematic, but the system despite all of its appearance, is not a machine. It's made up of certain individuals. Who are the people that run the system? How long have they been running it and how is the system being run? As far as some, if not most people are concerned, it's been one long 10, 15, or 20 year administration because even though some of the names change, things keep running the same broken way--"political gamesmanship", cronyism, scare tactics, out-to-getchas, favortism, cover-ups, popularity contests, et. al.

It's now to the point where people will believe an infomercial before they believe in what the city leaders are saying.

After a period of time, if left unchecked, whether large or small, these negative numbers catch up with the city budget. But now the city expects the taxpayers to pay a portion of their taxes on things it does not need or can't afford.

There is plenty of blame to go around. I have no way of knowing who is to blame, that wasn't my point. My point was that here is merely one example of how our gov't spends and wastes our money.

Shouldn't this example lead to other questions? What other areas have they squandered tax dollars? If they had less money to work with, such waste would be more difficult--maybe not even possible at all.

They'd be looking for ways to make the money go as far as possible rather than looking for ways to extract more money from us.

We allowed the creation of a "strong mayor" system, but that authority was largely used to create a large administrative office. If the mayor has the authority, why doesn't he use it instead of relying on a large administrative staff?

Ditch the mayor and go back to a city council form of government. The council is elected to run the day to day operations of the city. Why aren't they doing it? It's more like we elect them to just act like far more pathetic forms of rock stars.

As Ott has pointed out, there is waste from both administrations and councils.
The question for me is, where is the oversight?
What is not written about is what were the councils and administrations at the time doing to address the obvious and noted downturn in population and business.

 

With regards to software and its implementation there is still lurking in the shadows....

 

"
•Passed, on a 10-2 vote, a resolution urging the Finkbeiner
administration to use software from SAP Americas Inc. in the planned $8
million to $12 million installation of the city's new financial
accounting system.
Councilman Betty Shultz, who advocated the SAP contract, said the city
contracted with SAP two years ago to implement its new utilities
billing system with the understanding that the same software would be
used in the future upgrade of the city's financial accounting system.
She contends the city's Department of Finance is dragging its heels to
avoid having a uniform citywide financial accounting system.
Councilmen George Sarantou and Frank Szollosi cast the two no votes.
Mr. Sarantou said the city's finance department should be given a
chance to weigh in on the software it will have to use. He and Mr.
Szollosi said the costly software acquisition should be put up for bid,
as the Finkbeiner administration requested.

David Moebius, assistant chief of staff for Mr. Finkbeiner, said the
administration plans to go ahead with a meeting set for Dec. 13 for the
city's finance department to review SAP's products. The administration
then could either negotiate on the software with SAP or try again to
win council approval of a request to seek bids."

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071114/NEWS16/71...

 

""I am very pleased with the city’s selection of SAP, the culmination of
a highly focused group effort among staff, the advisory council and
city volunteers, representing a major step in phasing out obsolete
systems," said Betty Shultz, Toledo city councilwoman. "This
state-of-the-art solution will provide improved real-time information
to better manage city processes."

"We needed a solution that
would not only replace our billing system and meet our customer service
requirements, but one that would support the broader, citywide
infrastructure initiative we are planning," said Patsy Scott, director
of Information and Communications Technology, city of Toledo. "We chose
SAP because it has a solution map engineered to meet the specific needs
of a water utility�demonstrating a deep understanding of our industry
processes�and because SAP is an established solution provider that can
support our needs both now and in the future."

 

http://www.2020software.com/products/news/SAP_America__Inc_808.asp

...to the council. It seems as though they will have to make decisions about software and hardware purchases for which many don't have expertise. Betty Shultz might be the only one with expertise in this area.

One thing we might want to consider is firing the employees who can't use this new system. We could always hire from a pool of qualified employees (even if we have to go outside the state), and pay them what we need to so that they stay.

Old South End Broadway

....contract made with some expert(s) to take care of problems and upgrades as they occur. I assume this will be open ended. Anyone know how much such a program will cost this as contracted on a yearly basis? If we try to do it inhouse I doubt there will be the expertise to do this.

Old South End Broadway

... about "enterprise solutions" software is that they always require such extensive modifications that the costs of a staff of consultants reveals that the city could have just commissioned a custom-software team in the first place, as city employees.

The budget overruns on these so-called solutions are huge, and the larger the project, the proportionally more that these overruns and abandonments occur. The real issue is: Large software projects just don't work. Therefore, existing systems should be used until no other modification option makes sense.

A contract to emplace SAP will just run into the tens of millions, will be as slow as the system it replaced, and stands a good chance of being abandoned anyway. For laughs, check the wiki on NASA's launch-control system, for how farcical such plans can get for generations of attempts to replace them.

For the City of Toledo, a simpler system based upon sane rules enacted by administrators would result in a far easier time of acting to replace an accounting system. But since such administrators make their livings by making everything more complicated, that will never happen. THAT is why having a minimum government is very important in the first place.