That is what I asked. Scott Smith naturally had the answers- see his response below:
“I believe that these actions will have a greater detriment to the community than merely saving funds. For example:
No planner at the NPU meetings will result in a public that is not well informed. I would suggest that we deny anything that is not clear because the city has failed to keep to the policy that they adopted over 20 years ago.
Reduction in Code Enforcement Officers. I guess we’ll have to call 911 to report vacant houses now. A city without adequate code enforcement is a city that is broken. Every time I hear someone talk about the worst problems in the city they reference law enforcement and code enforcement. We’re removing key resources (7 from that department as of last Thursday) and not equipping them with the tools to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.
The shift to bi-weekly collection means more trash. Why doesn’t the community just put them in the regular trash bins so they can be picked up weekly? I have several neighbors who have been requesting recycle bins for months with no success. With only one assigned recycle bin, it will be difficult to hold onto a household’s recyclables for 2 weeks. Because of their ineptness, I’ve gone as long as 6 weeks without recycling being picked up in the past. Now that they have 2 weeks to do it, I am sure that our community will continue to be underserved.
As I understand it, the public defender supporting the municipal court has been cut. That means that no cases can proceed where the defendant requires public assistance. To attempt to proceed without a public defender is a violation of the US Constitution. It is deplorable that the city finance department is unaware of the law in this regard and irresponsible for the council to allow that to take place.
Furthermore, if the policy makers vote to reduce the funds for a courtroom, including the judge, that judge should still remain in office until the next election unless they voluntarily leave. Judges are elected and, even with a voluntary departure, the public has voted them in office and must have input as to whether they are removed. Without that process, I can see a world where a combative city council could zero out the budget for the department of mayor. That is equally unconstitutional without an impeachment hearing.
Reductions are important in a constrained budget. I think that the way in which it has been done was poorly executed and will have a significant negative impact on the city. I will attempt to participate in the hearings as my work schedule allows and I encourage everyone to make their voice heard. If you can’t attend in person, send a letter to the mayor, city council president and members of the city council in general.”
Scott C. Smith
Westview Community Organization
Secretary & Code Enforcement Chairperson
Thank you Scott for sharing- I did not realize all of this was on the table.