Methuen Budget Passes

The Methuen City Council passed my budget proposal last night. Part of the passage included the deletion of the position of Human Resources Director from funding. Other than that the budget was passed as recommended. It is a lean budget, with no growth on the City side. On the School side Superintendent Jeanne Whitten has renewed our focus on the classroom through the budget process. Her stated philosophy of “the centrality of the classroom” is reflected in her budget. I will propose very shortly a reform of the Human Resources Department so that our City is protected in the very important area of employee relations. I will also post the full, adopted budget here in the next day or so.

This entry was posted in Methuen, Methuen City Council, Municipal Finance. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Methuen Budget Passes

  1. This isn’t really related to this post, but I couldn’t find a way to send a question otherwise. Feel free to not post this comment, place it into a post, edit it, whatever.

    In your 2005 campaign one of your pledges was to see about updating the post office. What progress, if any, has been made on this and what are your plans for it in your next administration?

    Like

  2. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    It begins.

    If the budget is passed without raising fees or taxes (read real estate taxes), will it eventually run into a short fall in the ensuing years do to a natural increase in labor costs?

    I am watching Governor Patrick’s budget issues as he piles expansive costs on his vision of the future. 1 billion for medical research, 19 billion overspent on transportation,but with a south shore extension to be added, free junior college tuition and a host of others.

    So as to establish a baseline for future dialog between us, my 2006 quarterly taxes were $660 and my 2007 $707 so far. Should go down soon. Duval promised and together we can.

    Like

  3. Jules Gordon says:

    You honor,

    I have one question; Do you know the state and federal mandated costs (as a percent) assigned to the budget, whether city or school?

    Like

  4. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    I do not know that percentage, but anything above zero is to much. My guess is that the school burden would be higher. I will get that information and post it in the next day or so.
    Bill

    Like

  5. Bill Manzi says:

    Derek,
    The Post Office question has been explored with the regional authorites of the U.S. Postal Service. In short the Post Office is comfortable in their existing facility, where their lease expires in 2009. Although they will not commit to it I believe that a development centered around our downtown could attract them into a new facility. They are absolutely not willing to build a new one, but may be willing to lease a facility in a different location. In my second term I will continue to try to make this happen. I also believe that our strong efforts (centered around the Master Plan) to revitalize our downtown can make the prospect of success higher in this endeavor. Methuen needs and deserves a new Postal Facility.

    Like

  6. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    The key to succesful Muncipal Finance is not allowing your rate of growth in spending to outstrip your revenue growth. I realize that is a simple concept, but it has not always been adhered to. The consequence of that is that structural deficits develop, and such deficits are difficult to overcome without imposing real pain. Municipal governments are experiencing a real cold slap in the face. Please see todays post on the Merrimack Valley Mayor’s letter of support for Governor Patrick’s Municipal Patnership Act.

    Like

  7. DJ says:

    The City Council made a COLOSSAL error of judgment when they eliminated the post of Human Resources Director. EVERY city/town and company for that matter has a director of Human Resources. In my opinion, this was by and large the dumbest decision this Council has made yet. Very unfortunate indeed.

    Like

  8. Bill Manzi says:

    DJ,
    I will produce a plan within a short period to insure that the position of HR Director remains a part of our local government. It was not a wise cut.

    Like

  9. Jules Gordon says:

    Municipal Partnership Act. Actually, Your Honor, the federal government and I have a similar agreement. I work and they take money from me.

    I notice in the verbiage in your MPA posting the term “real estate tax relief” has been replaced by “no real estate tax increase”. So we don’t have a zero sum tax program, but actually a total tax increase by adding another layer of taxes in the towns. This a very democratic thing to do.

    I read the MPA and I will present a glossary of terms with deffinitions later.

    This will be fun.

    Like

  10. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    I created that verbiage with you in mind specifically. In Methuen if I had one million dollars in additional revenue in FY2008 (the budget just passed)I would only be able to say that I did not utilize reserves to balance. I will post Methuen’s potential upside from the Municipal Partnership Act, and the potential budget impacts for the future. After all it was not I that promised “property tax reduction”. (A bit of buck-passing there). I knew that you would be parsing that posting carefully, so I choose my words carefully. Looking forward to you having some fun (likely at my expense).
    Bill

    Like

  11. Jules Gordon says:

    Well, your Honor,

    You have established the rules of conduct on this site. Let’s see;
    You use a provider called “Lefty Blog” ( presume it wasn’t because the owner is called Lefty)
    You have provided links to the Democratic candidates for congress and none to the Republican.
    By your own admission, you are a life long Democrat.
    Your point of view is definitely Left of center (although I would not classify you as a lefty loon)

    In short to paraphrase Fox News you are not “fair and balanced”.

    Consequently,I hold this site as a full blown left of center which provides Democratic news
    from Federal to the Municipal level.

    I do hold you in league with the Governor, his policies and tactics. You, sir, have no place to hide in this blog site.

    You may hold my feet to the fire as well.

    I await you in the center of the ring.

    Have a nice week end.

    Like

  12. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    I am indeed guilty of a link to “lefty blogs” and although the principal of that operation is neither left-handed nor named lefty I must respectfully deny your claim of bias. I would argue that I am trying to bring you a perspective that will balance your viewership of Fox News, thereby bringing some fairness and balance into your viewing habits. I do appreciate (and thank you) for your designation of me as a “non-loon”. I wish that you would mention that to some members of the City Council, who might think otherwise. (For members of the City Council reading this blog that was an attempt at humor). As far as being in league with the governor that is only true when he agrees with the Democratic Speaker of the House and the Democratic Senate President. ( If the governor is reading this that was an attempt at humor). Finally, sir I stand ready to meet you at blog center and show you the error of your ways.(If Jules Gordon is reading this that was an attempt at humor). Have a great weekend.
    Bill

    Like

  13. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,
    To dispute your protestations regarding “lefty blog” provider site, I still do not see a link to the republican candidates running for Marty Two Term Meehan’s congressional seat. Fair and balanced requires representation from both sides. Am I to assume the Republicans have no web site.

    To be fair, I do listen to NPR and WTTK-FM. Sometimes you just have to listen to the other side. There are few Liberal, Progressive, Lefty or what ever commentators. Heck, I even read the globe (don’t let my friends know).

    I am curious, is Lefty Blog NOT a left wing political entity?

    See you Monday.

    Like

  14. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    The only republican with an active web site is Jim Ogonowski.

    http://www.jimogonowski.com

    Like

  15. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    Lefty Blog is indeed a cabal of leftists aggregating like-minded blogs everywhere. I subscribe to their Massachusetts feed. As you pointed out talk radio is dominated by conservatives, but the Internet seems to lean left.
    Bill

    Like

  16. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    So we are in parallel universes.

    I hope you are not supporting “fair speech act”?

    Like

  17. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    Is the fair speech act the labor certification legislation?

    Bill

    Like

  18. Jim says:

    Similar to how I choose to scan right by those right-wing talk radio/TV stations, it is even easier to not type in a URL to a liberal leaning website if one so desires….

    Like

  19. Bill Manzi says:

    I do happen to think that Al Franken was correct in his description of Rush Limbaugh.

    Like

  20. paula says:

    maybe your blog would be more balanced if you linked the valley patriot website and please do not support the equal time doctrine.

    Like

  21. Bill Manzi says:

    If Paula requests that link who am I to refuse? I will post it shortly.

    Like

  22. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Yes, the “labor certification legislation” is what I was referring too. It is a payoff by the Democratic party to the union to give them a first shot at confronting (intimidating) potential members. (Have you ever wondered why the democrats get union support?)

    Some points;

    Union membership accounts for only 17 percent of all labor in the U.S. It seems to me, from a free market approach, American working people have generally rejected union membership.

    What is wrong with a private ballot? If you claim companies can intimidate employees (how if the vote is private), how is opening the vote to direct union supervision (sign here or else) any better?

    Municiple unions have driven contracts costs that will result automatic cost growth and will require continuous prop 2 1/2 overrides and drive real estate tax growth. I also believe the Democrats will try to eliminante prop 2 1/2.

    Then what will happen to my property tax cut? (municipal tax humor)

    One more thing: If the municipalities are overwhelmingly manage by Democrats, how can they be tough at negotiating when the unions are part of the Democratic coalition?

    Like

  23. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    In your effort to be fair and balanced, as you have been with Paula, why not put a link to Jim Ogonowski’s web site?

    http://www.jimogonowski.com

    Al Franken is a moron. (just an opinion for balance)

    Like

  24. Bill Manzi says:

    OK- I will post that link as well. We are truly moving right of center here. First the Valley Patriot and NOW jimogonowski.com. I may end up being kicked out of lefty blogs! Jules, let us try to show the proper deference and respect to Senator Al Franken from Minnesota.

    Like

  25. Jim says:

    “I may end up being kicked out of lefty blogs! ”

    Mayor Manzi who??!!

    Like

  26. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor

    You can count on me not to say anything. In fact, I will send you a disguise kit; you know, mustache ,bug eye glasses, etc. with a Clinton in 2008 pin.

    Your prediction for an Al Franken victory is possible. He will make it possible for the Democratic dominated congress to dip below a popularity of 14%. To bad he’s not even funny.

    Thanks for the GOP link.

    Like

  27. ED/SAN ANTONIO, TX says:

    MAYOR MANZI IS FOR ALL OF METHUEN

    Like

  28. Jules Gordon says:

    ED/San Antonio, TX is correct. With only 7 conservatives in the town the mayor is for nearly all of Methuen.

    All kidding aside, the one thing about about Methuen I have noticed in my 27 years as a citizen (not long enough to be a townee) is that it appears to be managed well. You don’t see the public controversy that is exhibited by the towns that surround us. Maybe some of the liberals care.

    I will need to go to RWIS (“Right Wing Remedial School”) after the above confession.

    Like

  29. Bill Manzi says:

    Thank you Jules,
    When you manage a City I believe that ideology is less important than good management. Ideology doesn’t pick up the trash, our private trash hauler does. Does the RWIS have a class in how to lower municipal property tax bills?

    Bill

    p.s. with regard to Franken potentially driving down Congressional Approval to 14 percent that would still leave them ten points above Cheney.

    Like

  30. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    1. RWIS sure does have a way of lowering municipal costs. It begins with tossing out all you “tax and spend” scallywags.

    You misread the approval rating. It’s already at 14%. Congressman Franken could drive it below that. Could be a tie with Cheney. What would that mean to you? (Franken is still not funny)

    Like

  31. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,
    It is my hope that in this election season one scallywag gets re-elected! If the Congress gets approval ratings equal to or less than Dick Cheney then I would have to concede that it would be one damn unpopular Congress. I just don’t see that happening. Dick Cheney really works at being unpopular.

    Like

  32. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Do you have specific first hand information on Dick Cheney’s activity that has earned him a fascist reputation?

    I’m talking about reading memos, or telephone reports. Have you talked to someone who has witnessed these things? Are you being knowingly truthful or unfairly partisan?

    Cheney has been slimed.

    Like

  33. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Just came upon a popularity rating for VP Chaney; 37%, right beside President Bush (these number seem a little high to me). Far above congress at 14%.

    Check it out. Does that mean the congress all are nasty, evil ne’er-do-wells (based on the Chaney model)?

    What happens when Franken gets to congress? Will he do for this institution what he did to Air America. (still isn’t a funny guy)

    Let me know.

    Like

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