City goal-setting is just around the corner. The Council will meet in public session on March 21st to establish direction for the next two years. You can attend and/or submit your ideas via the city website at www.prcity.com.
Recently the Council received reports from each city department regarding the status of city staffing and service levels. Both were impacted significantly as the city navigated the choppy financial waters following the recent recession. The question: What will it take for us to get back to the service levels we enjoyed before the financial crisis? The answer: a lot.
Overall, the city employs 45 people less than it did 10 years ago. Much maintenance work was put on hold to save money. The bottom line is that it will take more than $3.3-million to catch up on deferred maintenance and an additional $7-million EACH YEAR to re-fill all those positions. Best case estimates predict only a small fraction of that in projected operational surpluses each year for the next five years.
We have learned to more with less these last few years but, in some cases, we’ve cut into muscle and not just fat. As we look to the future we will have to be very careful where we invest these small projected surpluses to bring city services back on line in the most prudent and efficient manner. Of course, public safety will come first, followed by maintenance of public facilities and assets and economic development.
We can use your best wisdom as we contemplate what comes next. Please be a part of the solution. You may email your suggestions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, submit them through the website at www.prcity.com, or attend the public goal-setting meeting March 17.
I look forward to hearing from you.