Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's only money

You may have read the news that ACHD is in the throws of a budget crisis. Impact fees were overestimated during last summer's budgeting. (As one of only three to comment on the budget and the only one to testify on the particulars of the budget at the hearing in person, I can say I told them so because I did tell them the impact fee revenue seemed awfully high. Alas, I was ignored then.)

ACHD is looking to rebudget over $3.7 million plus, this just in, another $800,000 from an unexpected increase in the liquid tar bid, a material which is used in the chip seal process. So, in total, the rebudget may be as high as $4.5 million - for the first quarter. The bad news is, the second quarter may be nearly as bad.

Currently the staff has found the savings as a hodgepodge of cuts in small accounts and some big projects that won't be funded as planned.

However, this $800,000 liquid tar bid has really thrown another kink into the process. Either the money is found to pay the higher bid price by cutting somewhere else, or the liquid tar is not purchased in whole or, if possible, maybe part and the roads don't get chipsealed this year, which could speed deterioration of our investment.

Any budget changes must preserve to the greatest extent possible, (1) the services provided to the public and (2) maintaining the roads that we have. It makes no sense to hold the personnel and administrative budgets relatively harmless while not putting sufficient money into maintenance. It also makes no sense to build new projects at the expense of maintaining what we have.

We're having a budget summit on February 13, 2009 at 8am. It's open to the public but I doubt it will be taped or televised. Come if you can. Or review the budget at and call or e-mail your suggestions.


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