It is budget time again in the city of Rochester and once more we have an almost $30 million deficit. Like every year the city has tried to address this problem by begging Albany for more money as it seems that this is the only tool we seem to have. Unfortunately I do not believe the $6 million that Albany has gifted us is enough. After all it seems that our city council has no limit on their ability spend money. Last month at the council meeting there were a number of proposals like $50,000 to design repairs for the Rochester Police Department Special Operations facility, $485,000 to implement these design, $269,000 to design the conversion of N Clinton and St Paul to 2 way streets, $7,000 to the army corp of engineers to dredge the rive at port, $213,000 for building modernization for libraries, and $2,642,500 for implementation of a standard coordinated revenue and control system for all City-owned parking garages I was struck by both the size and randomness of the numbers. I understand that planning is important and that to convert streets from one way to two way takes more than a line of yellow paint but $269,000 seems like an awful lot to plan this change particularly when $7000 dredges the port of Rochester. Of course one of the problems is that all these projects were not bid out but were done through a request for proposal. If these proposals had been bid out then we would have gotten the lowest cost but in a request for proposal cost is only 10% of the criteria used for determining the winning proposal. As a result it is more important to have a slick proposal, a proven track record, and an experienced team than a low bid. This was reinforced by a representative of Ber-National Automation Inc of Rochester who bid a million dollars less on the parking garage project but lost to an out of town bidder. Now it is important to have companies that can complete project but this needs to be balanced with the need for effective use of our tax dollars. That night in march council spend around $1.5 million more than they should have. So at this rate the extra $6 million the state sent us will only last 4 months and so this is just another reason why we can afford nice things.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Posted by Alex White at 4:29 PM
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Have you gotten one of our Seed Paper Cards during the Green Rochester campaign?
Friday, April 26, 2013
On this episode of Transforming Rochester we discuss the Port of Rochester Marina Project.
The project takes away public park land and privatizing it with so many
grants, tax breaks and low-interest (not paid back) loans that it
doesn't come close to a breaking even financial investment. It is a
giveaway of local, public money with no effect on poverty, crime or the
budget. So why are we doing it? There only seems to be one logical
reason: as a reward to builders and developers for political
contributions. Do you have a different reason?
You can listen to the podcast here or click on the link in the column on the right.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
"At the age I am now, if I can't teach, I shouldn't even open my mouth to speak."
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
Alex White and Dave Atias discuss our priorities in Rochester. How can we give six figure tax breaks to a company while close libraries? Every year there is a $30 million budget deficit to close. Why then, do we keep giving away millions of dollars every year in tax breaks to companies who really do not create long-term jobs? If the Mayor wants to continue this 1st Century form of economics we're all going to be in a lot of trouble. But Alex has a solution.
Alex also talks about his recent announcement to run for Mayor of Rochester again.
You can listen to the podcast here or click on the link in the right-hand column.
Here is the link to the city-funded survey about libraries. Tell the City that we need MORE libraries, not less.