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Mayor west and members of the council,
I feel compelled to convey a breaking news story coming from New Orleans as it directly correlates to our current situation. In their environment, the weather has taken a disastrous toll on the finances of the city. In our quiet corner of the country, its stagnant tax revenue, the destructive effects of I-695/I-747, and skyrocketing costs of health care. Though the sources are different, the outcomes are quite similar. Both of our cities face budget shortfalls resulting in catastrophic staffing losses in the city. In our fair city, we took the drastic measures that leave a poor taste in the mouth of all involved, but life has progressed.
Mayor Ray Nagan of New Orleans looked at what the citizens pay for, what the basic services of a city are, and he made an incredibly deep cut of 40% of his overall city staffing. He did not remove a single member of public safety and basic services. His response was to cut the services which cities have been adding for the past 100 years, the small services which make a city beautiful and charming, familiar and appealing. Mayor Nagan knew that the basic services were a foundation to build his city on as it regained its strength economically.
I think this is a position we in the city of Spokane can take at this time of budgetary crisis. Police, Fire, Water, Streets, Public Works. These are the foundation that we should keep in tact, and should build upon to not only improve our credit rating with S&P, but to draw new business to our town, knowing they will have respectable insurance rates, protection from the ills of society, functioning basic services of water and sewer, and the streets project which was so valiantly passed not long ago.
Below you will find the article the above pertains to. I implore you all take a considerable look at it, regardless of the tax increases pending, regardless of the election process on the table. These are steps we can take now to improve the outlook in the 3, 5 and 10 year steps to returning this city to what it once was and could be. Please dont hesitate to email me back if you have positive or negative feedback, other information, or just a general rant, I would appreciate any open dialogue that can be provided outside of labor-management meetings, which stifle the speech of the many so often.
Mayor of New Orleans Announces Layoffs
October 04, 2005 6:34 PM EDT
NEW ORLEANS - Mayor Ray Nagin said Tuesday the city is laying off as many as 3,000 employees - or about half its workforce - because of the financial damage inflicted on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.
Nagin announced with "great sadness" that he had been unable to find the money to keep the workers on the payroll.
He said only non-essential workers will be laid off and that no firefighters or police will be among those let go.
"I wish I didn't have to do this. I wish we had the money, the resources to keep these people," Nagin said. "The problem we have is we have no revenue streams."
Nagin described the layoffs as "pretty permanent" and said that the city will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to notify municipal employees who fled the city in the aftermath of Katrina, which struck about a month ago.
The mayor said the move will save about $5 million to $8 million of the city's monthly payroll of $20 million. The layoffs will take place over the next two weeks.
"We talked to local banks and other financial institutions and we are just not able to put together the financing necessary to continue to maintain City Hall's staffing at its current levels," the mayor said.
Meanwhile, former President Clinton met with dozens of New Orleans-area evacuees staying at a shelter in Baton Rouge's convention center. And officials ended their door-to-door sweep for corpses in Louisiana with the death toll Tuesday at 972 - far fewer than the 10,000 the mayor had feared at one point. Mississippi's Katrina death toll was 221.
A company hired by the state to remove bodies will remain on call if any others are found.
Clinton, working with former President Bush to raise money for victims, shook hands and chatted with the evacuees, some of whom have been sleeping on cots in the Rivercenter's vast concrete hall for more than a month and complained of lack of showers, clean clothes, privacy and medical care.
"My concern is to listen to you ... and learn the best way to spend this money we've got," Clinton said.
Robert Warner, 51, of New Orleans said he and others have struggled to get private housing set up through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"We've been mired in the bureaucratic red tape since Day One," he said.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Eric Staggs Engine 3 D shift
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
New Orleans Mayor lays off everybody except nonessential Workers. NO FIREFIGHTERS OR POLICE WERE LAID-OFF!
Eric Staggs wrote an e-mail to city leaders regarding Mayor Nagin's actions. When I get his permission, I will post it here. I guess Mayor Nagin didn't have time to do a Priorities of Government Survey, like Spokane did. Oh wait, the POG survey said that Police and Fire services were the services that citizens would never want to see cut. And yet... Strange.