The Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee (CBRAC) has released its full report to the Garden City board of trustees as well as the Joint Conference Committee.
After attending all public work sessions, scrutinizing the 2012-2013 budget packages and even interviewing department management, committee members - all Garden City residents - rendered several conclusions and recommendations.
Preliminary recommendations were supplied to the village board of trustees on March 8 for immediate consideration in the draft budget, according to the report.
The committee offered 16 draft recommendations (Appendix A) with direct cost savings for the 2012-13 budget at the March 7 work session. Some of these recommendations include maintaining approved 2011 staffing levels within the Garden City Police Department. "The village should use 2012 to see if a staffing level of 52 personnel is appropriate and would save the costs of three police officers from the current budget scenario," the report states.
Committee members also recommend that the village "switch to the policies used by the private sector of reimbursing employees on a per mile basis for use of their personal vehicles involved in their daily village duties."
"Besides those used by the uniform services (police, fire, etc.), there are dozens of village owned automobiles used by village employees to commute to and from their homes to their work locations and in the performance of some of their daily tasks," according to the report. "We believe this is an expense that can be significantly reduced. These vehicles are primarily previously used obsolete unmarked police cars. The costs involved include maintenance, fuel and insurance. Due to the previous deterioration on these vehicles, the maintenance costs can be significant and tie up the Department of Public Works employees in making repairs."
As far the Golf Club senior center improvement project is concerned, committee members believe funding should be reduced to $200,000 in current year and $430,000 in 2013/14 to better reflect the likelihood of project timing.
"After the number of individuals who currently use the senior center and are expected to use the center is more fully researched, we recommend a two phased approach to enhancing the offerings to seniors," the report states, adding that the first component of the first phase include a facelift to the current facility, such as new furniture, enhanced cooking facilities and improved bathrooms.
The CBRAC also recommends the village completely eliminate hardcopies of the annual report (which is currently available on the village's website) and post only online. This move would result in a cost savings of $18,500. Members also recommend having color reference copies available at various village locations.
This year's CBRAC also reviewed recommendations made in the previous two budget cycles (March 2010 and March 2011 reports). According to the report, a study of the status of all 104 prior recommendations is contained in Appendix B on pages 14 to 29.
Committee members report that approximately 32 percent of those recommendations have been implemented and 68 percent were not.
2012 marked the sixth time the CBRAC took part in the village budget process. 2012 CBRAC members include Kristina Russo (chairman), Stephen Makrinos (vice chairman), Brian Armstrong, Fred Capozzi, Joseph Colletti, Joe Courtade, Tom McArdle and Courtney Rosenblatt.