Showing posts with label Dayhoff issues position papers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dayhoff issues position papers. Show all posts

Thursday, May 22, 2008

20080521 Westminster Eagle: Pecoraro makes 'superdelegate' stand in advance of convention

20080521 Westminster Eagle: Pecoraro makes 'superdelegate' stand in advance of convention

Pecoraro makes 'superdelegate' stand in advance of convention

05/21/08 By Kevin E. Dayhoff

Political and presidential historians are often quick to point out that the Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the Unites States.

However, many folks may not be aware that much of the roots of the party are arguably in Maryland.

The U.S. Democratic Party, and specifically, the Maryland Democratic Party "is among the oldest, continuous existing political organizations in the world," according to a brief history of the Maryland Democratic Party written by Carroll County historian and former Maryland Secretary of State John T. Willis.

Mr. Willis is considered by many to be a nationally known authority on political history -- especially Democratic Party history.

In his historical account he notes that it was on this day in 1827, "that a meeting of Andrew Jackson supporters organized a political structure in the State designed to help one of the national founders of our Party win the PresidencyÉ"

Five years later, on May 21, 1832, the first national political convention of the Democrat Party was held in Baltimore.

According to Willis, it "was held at the Atheneum (and Warfield's Church) É located on the southwest corner of St. Paul and Lexington Streets. Twelve delegates from each county and six delegates from Baltimore City were invited to attend."

From 1832 to 1872, eight of the 12 Democrat party national conventions were held in Baltimore. Considering that two of the main routes to Baltimore, from all points west, travel through Carroll County, an historian's imagination can run wild as to what national political figures may have passed through Carroll in those days.

Fast-forwarding to the present, as the Democratic primaries draw to a close, presidential historians are looking forward to a very busy summer.

However, one portion of the drama of the longest presidential campaign in history may be coming to an anti-climatic finish, as presidential candidate and Illinois Senator Barack Obama seems to be close to a mathematical edge over his rival for the Oval Office, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

In one important development that made national news, just last Friday, Westminster Common Councilmember and Democratic National Convention superdelegate Greg Pecoraro endorsed Senator Obama.

The term, "superdelegate" is relatively new in our political lexicon.

It's actually an informal term coined for a credentialed delegate at the presidential convention who is either a party leader or an elected official. For example, Gov. Martin O'Malley is another superdelegate.

They are free to endorse whomever they choose at the national convention.

Mr. Pecoraro's announcement was carried by outlets as far and wide as the Associated Press, Time magazine's political blog, "The Page," as well as the highly entertaining and controversial political blogs "The Daily Kos" and "The Huffington Post."

In a statement released on Obama's Web site, Pecoraro said, "Today, I am very excited to join the large majority of Maryland Democrats who expressed their enthusiasm for Senator Obama's candidacy in our state's presidential primary. Like them, I believe Barack Obama is the right leader for our time."

Pecoraro praised Senator Clinton, too, but ultimately decided: "I strongly believe that Senator Obama offers us the best opportunity we have had for many years to turn away from the politics of division and despair, and look towards an America of opportunity and progress."

Mr. Pecoraro will join Maryland's 99 delegates who will vote at the Democratic National Convention, which will be held this year from Aug. 25 through the 28th in The Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.

Mathematics has been a preoccupation of many political observers for the past number of months as the numbers involved in the convention are bewildering.

One published account estimates that it will cost approximately $15 million just to prepare The Pepsi Center for the estimated 35,000 folks who are expected to attend. That includes more than 15,000 members of the media.

However, it's the sheer numbers of the delegates that is mind-boggling -- there are 4,048 voting convention delegates attending.

In a phone conversation with Pecoraro the other day, he seemed unfazed. He said he's attended every National Democratic Convention since 1980 except one.

Moreover, he said it's a great honor to be a part of history and that he was looking forward to this year's convention.

He's not the only one. Outside of the summer blockbusters in movie theaters, it might be the best source of suspense we'll see this summer.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. E-mail him at

Sunday, April 30, 2006

20060430 An analysis of the FY 2007 Westminster City Budget - Why a tax increase is not necessary.

20060430 An analysis of the FY 2007 Westminster City Budget - Why a tax increase is not necessary.

An analysis of the FY 2007 Westminster City Budget

Why a tax increase is not necessary.

The following was posted on the Westminster Eagle Website:

on April 30, 2006.

©2004 All rights reserved. Contact us at All other trademarks and Registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Related posts: Dayhoff issues and position papers

Feedback on Westminster budget? Here's mine

April 30, 2006 © By Kevin Dayhoff

Feedback on Westminster budget? Here's mine

Why a tax increase is NOT needed • April 30, 2006

04/30/06 By Kevin Dayhoff

Recently the City of Westminster (City) announced a proposed budget of $27,334,713.00 for Fiscal Year 2006 - 2007, (FY 2007) which begins July 1, 2006, ends June 31, 2007, and has requested feedback from Westminster citizens.

The proposed budget includes a 6-cent increase in the City’s property tax. This will raise the property tax from 40 cents to 46 cents – a fifteen percent increase, probably the largest in the City’s history.

There have since been published reports of folks who do not want a tax increase. Well duh, who among us wants to pay more for anything unless we are to receive a commensurate increase in a tangible product or services in return?

The City, in press reports, has said that the 6-cent increase is needed for “rising fuel prices (an increase of $65,000;) health care costs (an increase of $212,542;) the city's growth ($?;) new technology (an increase of $40,000 – G10.-391 and the General Fund’s portion of the last installment on the new financial accounting system - $348,468;) road maintenance (an increase in the road overlay program of $500,000) and ‘so many other things ($?)…’”

What has been lacking in this year’s budget discussion is any published analysis of the budget so that citizens may arrive at an informed decision. Citizens need to know what has been proposed for our health, safety and welfare and just what a 6-cent increase in the property tax looks like to those of us who have to pay the bill.

Moreover, it is imperative upon those folks who disagree to do more than be disagreeable; they must recommend a thoughtful and intelligent alternative suggestion for debate and discussion.

Disagreement is not inherently a negative thing, as long as it promotes a meaningful and constructive exploration of the issues in order to arrive at a win-win consensus that will make as many folks happy as possible.

Westminster has one of the more sophisticated, intelligent and well-educated citizen-bases in the state; and yet, an alternate proposal has not been presented.

So, let’s explore the matter and see what we can do to develop an intelligent alternative approach that says no to a tax increase.

For this analysis of the City budget, it would be helpful if you had a copy of the proposed budget handy. Most of the expenditures and revenues will be identified by their “account number” - a “G” number; for example, “G26.5000” is the identifier for “Hospital Insurance.”

A copy of the proposed budget should be easily available by calling (410) 848-9000 or stopping by City Hall.

Nevertheless, do not worry if you do not have a copy of the budget handy at the moment, as hopefully, I will still be able to explain where cuts are possible to avoid a tax increase.

If, after reading this analysis, you agree that there are cuts available to avoid a tax increase, it would be certainly helpful for the City to know where your suggestions of additional proposed cuts can be found by referring to the “G – account number.”

As we discuss the following numbers, bear in mind that each penny increase in the City’s property tax nets the City $143,947.50. A 6-cent increase will net the City $863,684.00.

The last several budgets have been very difficult.

To be sure, the last number of budget years have been extraordinarily difficult. For several years after September 11th, 2001, the economy was stagnant and municipal revenues greatly curtailed – and in some instances, City revenues got smaller or even disappeared. To add insult to injury, the state balanced its budget on the backs of local government.

All the while, in the last several years, the City has witnessed an increased demand for services and expenses have disproportionately increased.

For example, one line item in the City’s budget, account number G26.5000, “Hospital Insurance,” was $767,920 in FY 2005; $948,054 in FY 2006 and has now jumped another $212,542 for this year to $1,160,596.

The salary and operating cost of trash removal, G12.4300, increased from $752,245 in FY 2005 to $858,134 in the FY 2007 budget or an increase of $105,889.

Fuel costs have increased for FY 2007 by $65,000.

Beginning July 1, 2003, the new police retirement plan, the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System (LEOPS) began an increased expenditure in excess of $364,000 per year.

During these difficult budget years – through FY 2006: the City built two parking decks; re-built a portion of Uniontown Road, upgraded the parking meters, built a much needed additional parking lot on West Main Street, supported the renovation of the Carroll Arts Center, embarked on an expensive upgrade of the 25-year old - 1978 financial accounting systems, gave the police officers an enhanced pension system - the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System and gave the police officers a unilateral last minute, “triple-step” pay increase for FY 2006, which cost $125,686.

All of this was accomplished without a tax increase. In fact, FY 2005 had $812,000 left over – almost the amount of money generated by a 6-cent tax increase.

How was this accomplished without a tax increase? For one thing, it involved many sleepless nights and an exacting conservative approach to examining each and every budget line item and making many difficult decisions. Not to mention, an overriding conservative approach to keep government as small as possible and meet the many demands on finite resources with no tax increase.

It should be noted that the Westminster Common Council took the $125,686 in unilateral pay increases for the police out of my proposed FY 2006 budget line item of $250,000 set aside to address the increasing salary disparities for the City’s employees. In addition, while take home vehicles were taken away from non-police officers, that benefit was expanded for police officers.

Did the police officers deserve the pay increase? Yes. So do the other employees.

In the last several years, what did not happen is any substantial pay or benefit increase, beyond routine cost of living increases for the out-of-date and uncompetitive salary structure of non-police employees, in spite of the fact that it has been well known that it is needed, since February of 2003.

Needless to say, this has disheartened many city employees.

Where to begin?

The City budget is divided into four funds: General, Housing, Sewer, and Water. Most of the following is a discussion of the General Fund budget.

A review of the water and sewer budget indicates that water and sewer service will never be as inexpensive as it is today. It is a matter that is beyond the City’s control.

In the last number of years, federal and state regulations, (unfunded mandates - laws passed down without the money to pay for the costs,) and changing interpretations of existing water and sewer appropriation laws have caused a great deal of financial strain on the City’s water and sewer service.

And we must not ignore a 1966 court decision that requires the City to provide water to anyone requesting it within a reasonable distance of the existing water service area – whether it is in the city limits or not. It may be time to find a good court test of that decision which causes the city to have essentially no say in many residential annexations, for which we, as a community have made a collective decision, that we have no interest.

We must support the City employees.

First off, the $555,375 for City employee salary reserve that is set aside for pay equity implementation needs to remain in the FY 2007 budget.

The $92,164 - two percent matching contribution to the preferred compensation plan for eligible employees, must be funded.

It has been suggested that to not support the tax increase is to not support the employees. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Scapegoating the employees is unquestionably unfair, especially since the main reason we have not had a tax increase in the last several years is because the hardworking, dedicated professionals who work for the City. They have consistently rolled up their sleeves and done more with less – all the while doing the work for less pay than they deserve. It should also be noted that the City fully funded LEOPS for the police officers without a tax increase or unwanted political attention.

How are we to pay for this?

Let’s not forget the $812,000 unallocated surplus carryover (money left over in the previously audited budget at the end of the year) for this year’s FY 2007 budget - an increase of $258,944.

And this year, for FY 2007, the City will see an increase in state Highway User Fee (HUR) revenue of $96,809.

Tax revenue for the FY2007 budget will increase by $1,706,438 – read: 1.7 million dollars - due to increased property values and increased commercial tax base through annexations. Compare that to a decrease of $11,832 for FY 2005 to 2006.

To recap - please add $258,944 in increased unallocated surplus carry-over; to $96,809 in increased HUR revenue; to $1,706,438 in increased tax revenue and that adds up to: $2,062,191 ($2.06 million dollars) in additional funds with which to balance this year’s budget.

And yet, a review of this year’s budget indicates that it is extremely tight.

Where’s the money going?

Well, it includes the $555,375 pay equity implementation; $212,542 for increased health care costs; $65,000 in increased fuel costs; the general fund’s portion, $110,156, of the last installment of the financial accounting technology upgrades; and trash and waste collections will increase $105,889. Your calculator should say: $983,962.

Okay, something doesn’t add up – looking at the big numbers, we still have approximately $1 million available.

Other additional increases in the proposed budget:

Well, FY2007 proposes an increase in the road overlay program of $500,000 from the previous fiscal year (for a total commitment of $750,000, this year.)

And then, for example, there are other increases FY2007 over FY2006:

$40,000 in technology upgrades, G10.-391; $23,750 to replace the carpet in City Hall, G10.-921; $26,660 increase for downtown revitalization, G10.1014; $24,100 for engineering services to correct City boundaries with GPS, G12.21OH/G12.210H2; $400,000 to purchase “workforce” properties for resale to qualified low- income residents, G10.10952; $119,000 to repair the City swimming pool, G18.14103; $223,000 to replace Trucks #40 and 24, G12.61003; $51,428 to replace two police cars, G11.151103; $25,000 for Pa. Avenue phase two streetscape improvements at the intersection with Union Avenue, G12.52PH3; $75,000 for the SHA sidewalk retrofit program, which is the City’s 50 percent share of $150,000, G12.52SW3.

This totals another $1,007,938 – to include the road overlay program brings the total increases to $1,507,938.

Rescind the recent decision to hire a City Administrator.

Not mentioned in this list is the newly created City Administrator position, which has been reported to cost $100,000. Perhaps we may want to amend that cost by adding the $22,500 for the consulting group hired to find this person and additional dollars for benefits, relocation expenses, office space, staff support and computer equipment. It has been whispered that this new position will cost the taxpayers as much as $200,000 – over a penny to the tax rate.

Hiring a City Administrator is an affront to the employees and destroys a sense of team. Westminster citizens “hired” the mayor to do this job. In 1991, the last time the city hired a City Administrator it didn’t work. Previously in the 1980s, the City also did away with the position in lieu of the department-director cabinet form of government. It works. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

Money to be used on the City Administrator is not necessary and could be better spent elsewhere. The City Administrator will only add an additional insulating layer between employees and the elected officials. The City Administrator position does not have support of many employees. Often citizens currently have direct access to city employees and can get things done quickly and efficiently. The City Administrator adds a complicating layer between public and city departments.

A City Administrator is another step towards “Big Government.” Westminster has never been tolerant of “Big Government or “tax and spend” management.

How many additional cuts in the budget are necessary to avoid a tax increase?

The simple answer is that a 6-cent increase in property tax will net the City $863,684. If you would like to avoid a tax increase, $863,684 in additional cuts are necessary.

Please go to the previous section and identify the cuts you would propose.

To get the conversation started, how about considering cutting:

$23,750, G10.-921, to replace the carpet in City Hall; $40,000, G10.-391 in technology upgrades – pay for Finance’s technology upgrades first; $223,000, G12.61003, to replace Trucks #40 and 24 – re-evaluate at half year; $51,428, G11.151103, to replace two police cars – re-evaluate at half year; $25,000, Pa. Avenue phase two streetscape improvements – apply for state grant; $75,000, G12.52SW3, SHA sidewalk retrofit program; $100,000, City Administrator position; $24,100, G12.21OH/G12.210H2 for engineering to correct City boundaries; $300,000 reduction in the road overlay program (that leaves $450,000 for this important work).

That totals $862,278 – and no tax increase.

This is not the year for a property tax increase.

The above is just a suggestion that attempts to spread the cuts over the widest range of expenses, without a cut in core services. Perhaps you may want to develop a different list of cuts and give that feedback to the City for their consideration.

Taking into consideration the precipitous increase in property assessments, citizens will already be paying a great deal more in property tax this year. Add to that, for example, the increased costs of gasoline, gas and electric, and health insurance; this is not the year for a property tax increase. Not to mention the chilling affect a tax increase will have on vital economic development and jobs creation right here at home.

What do you think?

Please get a copy of the proposed budget, review the above proposed expenditures and perhaps identify some different expenditures that we, as a community may want the City to consider cutting.

After doing your homework, write or e-mail our elected officials today. Better yet, attend the public hearing, with your proposed cost cuts and present them to the City. Be friendly, positive and constructive – after all, these folks are our friends and neighbors.

The location of the Public Hearing on the Proposed Real Property Tax Increase for the Tax Year beginning July 1, 2006 has been changed from City Hall to the John Street Quarters of the Westminster Fire Department located at 28 John Street, Westminster, Maryland. The time and date remain the same: 7: 00 P.M. on Monday, May 1, 2006. Please contact the City Clerk at (410) 848.4938 with any questions. If you can’t attend the meeting, the public comment period should remain open for several weeks, so still submit your suggestions.

Putting together a budget is hard work. The choices and decisions are difficult. We are all in this together. Only by putting out heads together and working with the City, we can be sure to arrive at win-win for everyone.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA. E-mail him at:


©2004 All rights reserved.
Contact us at
All other trademarks and Registered trademarks are property
of their respective owners.

Monday, April 10, 2006

20060410 Westminster Employee Action

Monday, April 10, 2006

20060410 Westminster Employee Action

Note: I was given this document by certain Westminster City Employees anonymously… KED

April 10, 2006

Employee action: Most of the employees agree with most of these points. Not all the employees agree with all the points. Police not included.

  1. Non-sworn employees have waited several years for an increase in pay and benefits. During this wait, police officers and certain other employees have received substantial pay increases.
  2. Non-sworn employees need to be prioritized for FY 2007 pay and benefit enhancements.
  3. Relations between the mayor and council - and employees are at a crisis breaking point. All communication has broken down. The situation at present appears to have passed a point where anything can repair the relations.
  4. Employees feel blown-off by current mayor and council. Current mayor and council are condescending and only give lip service to the employees. Efforts from the mayor seem misleading, superficial, and not sincere.
  5. Employees distrust current mayor and council and feel they lack integrity.
  6. Employees lack confidence that the current mayor and council have the competence to run the city. The city is not a bank, where you can make it up as you go.
  7. Many feel the mayor and council are in it for themselves and not for the city.
  8. Many feel that the mayor only wants to be the mayor, so he can say that he is the mayor. There is concern that councilmen just want to run for higher office and are using the city and its employees for their own gain.
  9. Mayor and council don’t know the employees, their jobs or how things work and don’t appear to care to know.
  10. Mayor and council do not back up employees leaving them to twist in the wind.
  11. Employees afraid to disagree or take their problems to the mayor and council because they fear negative repercussions.
  12. Employee attempts to talk with press ignored by Carroll County Times and Baltimore Sun, which appears to not question mayor, while the Times and the Sun questions all the other towns.
  13. Employees have to look out for their own best interests.
  14. This mayor and council not looking out for employees – just themselves. As a result, employees actively seeking union representation, feeling that they have no choice. Outside union organizers have contacted city personnel to take advantage of this situation.
  15. The mayor and city council have created employee unrest and low morale for which union organizers can capitalize.
  16. Confidential employee morale study not confidential and further lowered morale.
  17. Concern that if mayor and council raise taxes and/or if the employees get a pay raise; the mayor and council will blame the tax increase on employees and not on their wasteful spending, which includes the city manager.
  18. Right now, employees don’t see long-range plan for the city, except what is in it for mayor and council.
  19. Employees don’t know where the city is going or what to do.
  20. Whatever is agreed to can change whenever mayor and council find it expedient with no feedback or consulting with the employees. Things just seem to be made up as they go.
  21. Making recreation a department level ill timed and made morale worse. Used money that should have gone to other employees, while other employees have been waiting for years for pay parity. Decision to make recreation a department was knee-jerk and made by suspending the rules and doing it all at one council meeting. As a result, an employee quit and another threatened to quit.
  22. While other employees wait and wait for pay relief, recreation made department level without a committee or study. Proof that a study is just a stalling technique.
  23. Meanwhile city has no separate independent human resources department - but now has a director level recreation department.
  24. Mayor and council considered an information technology director – before it had a department level human resources director.
  25. There is a strong lack of trust for current human resources office. Employees feel that confidentiality is not maintained.
  26. Employees impatient for things to change for the better. Feel too many committees are a ruse to insulate mayor and council from decisions.
  27. Mayor doesn’t accept responsibility for anything – especially if he can hide behind a committee.
  28. Employees are proud to be frugal and save the city money. They don’t need to be given money rewards by mayor and council, their pride is their reward.
  29. Employees proud to do their job well and solve problems creatively, when there is lack of budget.
  30. Hiring a city manager is an affront to the employees and destroys a sense of team. Previous mayor did the job for $10k a year.
  31. Last time city hired a city manager it didn’t work.
  32. Money to be used on city manager is not necessary and could be better spent elsewhere.
  33. City manager will only add an additional insulating layer between employees and mayor and council. City manager position does not have support of employees.
  34. City manager adds complicating layer between public and city. Often citizens currently have direct access to city and can get things done.
  35. July 1999, new contributory pension system became effective…
  36. June 2000, 129 employees, including some police, had to choose paying one-year retroactive cost or be penalized when they retired.
  37. It would have cost the city approximately $75,000 to pay the retroactive costs for the 129 employees under the new contributory pension system.
  38. City didn’t offer to pay the retroactive amount. When LEOPS was subsequently adopted for the police officers, all retroactive contributions were paid by the city.
  39. 2000 to 2001 Budget, only police officers received reclassified pay scale: $1,200 more than everyone else. This did not include other non-sworn police personnel.
  40. Fiscal year 2002 to 2003, city council gave employees a 1% cost of living increase when cost of living in area with month used for calculation was actually 2.2%.
  41. 2002: city police got union representation and started requests for separate retirement system (LEOPS).
  42. 2002: city offered police a plan where the city would put in between 5 to 9% of officers annual salary based on the number of years they have been employed. The police officers rejected the offer.
  43. Now police seem to have what they want. (Baltimore Sun, November 12, 2002). LEOPS will cost the city $364,000 a year or $17 million over 25 years after factoring in inflation and additional officers. Police gave up their pay raises the next year to support the plan. Yet several years later, they got a triple-step increase.
  44. LEOPS was adopted July 2003 and the city paid the police contribution retroactively.
  45. City employees would like an improved non-LEOPS pension plan. The 401a can be used as an instrument to increase the percent available to city employees at the time of retirement. Six percent, with an equal match, would be great. The city’s goal should strive for 50% of an employee’s salary at retirement.
  46. The city employees would like to be compensated for unused sick leave at retirement.
  47. Improved longevity and shift differential is important. Longevity needs to reflect cost of living changes. Our number is static and not pegged to inflation.
  48. Non-sworn employees have waited several years for an increase in pay and benefits. During this wait, police officers and certain other employees have received substantial pay increases.
  49. Non-sworn employees need to be prioritized for FY 2007 pay and benefit enhancements.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

20040421 A Discussion on the Proposed Westminster Solid Waste Cost Recovery Fee

20040421 A Discussion on the Proposed Westminster Solid Waste Cost Recovery Fee

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

20040421 A Discussion on the Proposed Westminster Solid Waste Cost Recovery Fee

A Discussion on the Proposed Westminster Solid Waste Cost Recovery Fee

April 21st, 2004

I want to share with you some thoughts as to how the idea of a trash collection recovery fee came together and encourage you to give me your feedback. Thank you in advance to taking the time to read through this discussion with respect to how continued declining municipal revenues have dramatically impacted the City’s finances and a proposed remedy for the FY 2005 Budget.

As many of you are aware, many local governments are being forced to either make cuts in services or raise property taxes. The Westminster FY 05 Budget proposes neither. No one wants to pay more for goods and services and certainly nobody wants to pay more taxes or fees to government. Everyone wants good roads and certainly everyone has a keen interest in increased Fire, EMS and Police services.

In the FY 2005 proposal, to raise additional revenue, I have included a Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee for only the households who receive this benefit.

At present, the City provides these services to about 4,600 residential units at no cost. Not all city taxpayers receive this benefit. Businesses and multifamily units, such as Parr’s Ridge, Middlebrook Apartments, pay for their own trash removal.

Beginning July 1, 2004, these services will cost all City taxpayers approximately $600,000.

This amounts to about $130 for each household. These costs have increased $97,000.00 in the past two years –a cost which has been fully absorbed by the City. How much longer can the City absorb these costs without additional revenue?

I propose that the City recover $16.25 per quarter for a total of $65 a year (18 cents per day) from each household who receives this service; which amounts to 50% of the City’s total cost of $130 per household.

The Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee is a fair and equitable means to generate additional revenue for the City for the following reasons:

1. The cost of this municipal service is billed directly to only the users of this specific service.

It is a basic fairness issue. Westminster requires all business and apartment owners with 4 or more units to pay for their own trash collection. A property tax increase would require these business owners to incur additional costs for a service for which they do not benefit.

They will certainly pass those costs on to their customers and then not only will our citizens be paying for additional taxes but they will also pay additional rental housing and consumer goods and services expenses. With trash collection recovery fee - businesses and multifamily residential units will no longer subsidize residential trash collection.

2. Currently Westminster negotiates a contract for trash removal to take advantage of the economies of scale, bringing down the cost to approximately $130.00 per year per household as opposed to approximately $240.00 per year that it would cost each and every homeowner if the City did not collectively bargain for a reduced rate.

Even at full cost recovery, the City’s contract price for solid waste and recycling collection and disposal service is still much cheaper than, for example, what County residents pay for the same service.

3. In the past, this service was paid for out of general tax revenues. That said – the challenges of declining municipal revenues in the face of rising costs, unfunded mandates and increased demands for road improvements, public safety and services bring us to a new territory. New challenges demand new approaches.

It’s no longer business as usual for many municipalities such as Westminster.

4. Many cities and towns are currently discussing the merits of a cost recovery for trash pick collection. This proposal recommends that the City maintain bulk trash pick-up at no charge to our residents.

Just as cities and towns charge a cost recovery fee for water and sewer, parking and recreation. It is important for those who benefit from a specific service – contribute for the provision of that particular service.

General tax revenues are for the purpose of pooling our resources for basic services that are shared by the greater community and are of benefit to the community at large. Trash collection is not provided to all taxpayers – those who benefit ought to contribute to their specific benefit.

5 This cost recovery is pro-business. At a time when Westminster is working hard to continue to attract business and commercial tax base and local community employment – to tax businesses for a service that they do not receive is basically unfair and certainly not an inducement for attracting companies to bring additional employment to Westminster. If it is bad enough to pay more for goods and services – how would you like to pay for a service that you do not get?

6. It would be the first step in the eventual direction of developing a “pay-as-you-throw” approach in an attempt to increase recycling and reduce the amount of municipal solid waste per household. The details will require some out-of-the-box approaches, but the theory is that if economics and markets forces can be introduced to how trash is collected and disposed, it is hoped that eventually the overall expense of the City could be reduced and passed on to citizens. (Of course, this initiative is also good for the environment…)

The budget I presented last Monday, April 19th, 2004 is a reflection of months of hard work by the staff, the Council Finance Committee and myself. This budget concentrates on roads, public safety, and technological infrastructure that will act as a staff extender; while not proposing an increase in property taxes. If we do not do something now about additional revenues, the City would be forced to make additional deep cuts into an already bare bones budget, cut services or raise property taxes.

Our first look at this year’s budget had a shortfall of approximately $4.2 million.

Cumulatively since Fiscal Year 2001, our State funding for Highway User Fees has been reduced by approximately $650,000 and our expenses for Public Safety increased by approximately $700,000.

During the last two years our healthcare benefit costs have increased by approximately $200,000 and the cost of trash collection has increased by $97,000.00. It is quickly apparent that while we have had a decline in income, costs have continued to increase.

Additionally – we have postponed, year after year, $246,000.00 worth of much needed infrastructure technology that we simply cannot put off any longer. As anybody that has driven through Westminster over the past several months understands, the previous two winters have been brutal to the City’s paved streets and alleys.

In order to ensure that the City does not have to invest millions of dollars in future reconstruction projects, it is necessary for us to make a significant investment of $750,000.00 in the road overlay program at this time.

The challenges that we face are daunting, but by working together, we can all do better. As always, your thoughtful consideration is appreciated regardless of the outcome on any particular issue. Whether we agree or disagree, always find my door open for friendly civil and constructive dialogue. I need your feedback.

Kevin Dayhoff, Mayor of Westminster

Home Office: P. O. Box 1245, Westminster, MD 21158 kdayhoff AT


Westminster Dept Public Works Solid Waste Man

Westminster Dept Public Works Solid Waste Man Recycling

Westminster Dept Public Works Solid Waste Man 20040415 Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee

Westminster Dept Finance Budget 20040415 Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee

Westminster Dept Finance Budget

Environmentalism Solid Waste Man Pay as You Throw

Environmentalism Solid Waste Man Recycling

Posted by Kevin Dayhoff at 4/21/2004 03:47:00 AM

Labels: Westminster Dept Finance Budget 20040415 Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee, Westminster Dept Public Works Solid Waste Man 20040415 Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee

Posted by Kevin Dayhoff at Wednesday, April 21, 2004 0 comments Links to this post

Labels: Westminster Dept Finance Budget 2004 – 2005 FY, Westminster Dept Finance Budget 20040415 Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee, Westminster Dept Public Works Solid Waste Man 20040415 Solid Waste and Recycling Cost Recovery Fee