[I think Ivan’s got a great handle on the big picture. I am reprinting comments he made earlier today in a separate post as they should not be missed. Also it makes it easier to send a link to the City Council. (Wink.)]
Here is some of my concerns. I like to be able to be able to count on things that I know. I’m not a great forecaster or predictor. This is my concern with the sales tax. It is all predicated on selling goods! 8% of zero is zero. Will this happen, I hope not, but it is very possible that we as a community will sell less than we did last year.
For instance and this is just me. My business locally had already purchased over $400,000.00 worth of materials [by this time last year] at 7.5% which is $30,000.00 in sales tax to DeKalb. As of today, only about $4,000.00 or at the new 8% tax rate, $320.00.
I had paid over $45,000.00 in payroll last year to this time and this year only $3,600.00 thus far. Subcontractors received over $350,000.00 by this time, this year, $52,000.00. The point of these numbers is that these employees would spend local dollars that they received locally. Anywhere from lunches, cigarettes, pop to groceries, night out, newer vehicles etc. I’m sure many have had to cut back on many of the things that they purchased last year during this time frame. Which anything bought would be sales tax for DeKalb.
This is a great reason to show a little more support for local businesses and thus these businesses need to show appreciation for customers who walk through their doors for any business they can give.
This is just my business and me. There are commercial contractors that are strong but not many are local. There are local businesses that are stronger than others but not a majority number when put together.
My point is that we should not wait to see if this new sales tax rate will bring in the additional dollars that staff says it will. I’m telling you the numbers will fall dramatically short. Budget cuts have to be sincere and severe. Departments have to determine what is a necessity to operate and what is a luxury. Spending has to stop. Vehicle and equipment purchases will have to be halted NOW. We must squeeze a percentage more time out of all our equipment. Purchases can only be done on an emergency need basis and a line item should be set up for this purpose.
Policies on all overtime needs to be reevaluated. Numbers for on call employees need to be reevaluated in all departments with the understanding that emergencies still have to be taken care of. Seminars and continued education may have to be halted for a short time. We are in a crisis and all must do their part. We cannot just blame one group or expect just one group to sacrifice all. This must be done as one. Job titles and what these positions actually do may be a great start with many departments. Use of subcontractors on a need use basis may be a short term answer. Better utilization of time and scheduling of employees is a big part of this also. No redundancy must be allowed or accepted.
These are just some ideas. Things that are common in many businesses. This is just not a picking on of city employees it is a call to action. This is what should have been done way before the thought of a tax increase was implemented to the taxpayers. It was not done and it has caused much grief and bitterness to people and/or groups that did not anticipate this fallout.
I am calling out Mayor Van Buer and our city council members to do their best in making sure that a substantial spring cleaning be done within city hall. All I’m asking is that some pure common sense and thought be brought to the table. We are in a downturn and we better work with numbers that are solid and that we know we can control and count on. If we don’t, I’m sure many will be pretty ticked off next year, if they already aren’t.
One thing to add to the above numbers. I had already by this time spent over $30,000.00 in permit and hook up fees in DeKalb. To date ZERO. We cannot count on the sales tax to help us out of this deficit hole.