The First 50 Days with Mayor Gillespie
March 18, 2011
I have been in office approximately 50 days and feel that I owe an update to the citizens of Prattville. I have a plan of action which includes regaining control of our financial situation. City Hall has learned to do more with less over the past few weeks. We have reduced our personnel costs by approximately one million dollars, but still we are able to provide the services to which Prattville has become accustomed. We have lost some employees to retirement or attrition but our service core is still intact.
I identified in my first thirty days several areas in the city that needed to be addressed to make them more efficient. I, along with department heads, have pulled together to make their departments more streamlined. We, as a service-oriented business, have been looking at all services we provide to our citizens to insure that each are being provided at the most economical price. I will continue to work with them to reorganize departments to maximize productivity from all of our 380 employees. We have recognized that cross-training employees in some areas will help their department provide our premiere services efficiently and effectively.
I will also be looking at different budget types to insure that we have the budget best suited for our City.
I have found that our waste water facility was running a million dollars a year in the red. I had to reluctantly ask the City Council to impose a $10.00 per month surcharge on all users of our sewage system until we can have a cost analysis done. After the analysis is done, we will have a 5-year plan for this vital service and will then readjust the rates to cover costs.
I have started looking over contracts to see which of them can be renegotiated for a savings to the City. I have also decreased the number of vehicles going home with city employees to cut expenses. Another area where we have made cuts is overtime. We had a department head to recognize that something as simple as the unlocking of gates by one department and the locking of gates by another department can save the City overtime hours.
I feel that everybody in Prattville knows about the sales tax increase that I have asked the Council to approve on the 22nd of this month. With that said, if the tax does pass, we will provide the services that our citizens expect. I'm not for certain if it will pass, but if it does not, then we, as a City, will need to pull together to help bring this great City of ours through this financial hardship. I know that as a family, if we pull together and not apart, then we will overcome this. I know that we all have felt some of the economic impact of this global recession, but I feel optimistic about our future, knowing that we as Americans can endure. I will provide more city updates in the future.
Bill Gillespie, Jr.