The County Budget

Wasted Tax Dollars

As a citizen and a taxpayer, one of my biggest concerns is the usage of our tax dollars. Having spent thirty years in management and customer service, I am very bottom-line oriented. In this case, our customers are the taxpayers of Anne Arundel County and the bottom line is that these are YOUR tax dollars. To that end, we need to get the most out of every tax dollar, single, every day. These ideas are still subject to my platform committee. If you do not know what my platform committee entails, I recommend you read the “About” for more details.

The Idea

How does a company get a salesperson to sell more? How does a company get a manager to pay attention to the bottom line? With incentives and bonuses! Therefore, I believe we could do the same type of thing in county government. Those in leadership positions and those with direct budgeting responsibility could do a better job making sure that they do not needlessly spend your tax dollars. We need to develop an incentive program for them. However, I do not want an incentive program that would benefit the individual. Rather, a program that would benefit their department. An example of such a program would be:

  • 33 cents of every dollar saved would go into an account to fund the department’s incentive.
  • We would allocate 33 cents of every dollar saved to new programs. Yes, there are new things that I would like to do. Such as adding programs to help at-risk youths pay for youth sports.
  • 34 cents of every dollar saved would be returned to you, the taxpayers of Anne Arundel County

How would the incentive program work? For instance, a department head, along with input from those that work with them, would compile a wish list for their department. This wish list could be anything from adding a wanted piece of equipment (not a needed piece of equipment, as it is our responsibility to make sure they have what they need) or a fun team building exercise with their teams. If the wish list is legally and morally sound, they can then begin saving toward the incentive.

Managers would start by watching all invoices under their control, making sure that money is not being wasted. Also, they could look at the staff within their department. While I am not advocating the termination of good people, the decision needs to be made if we need everyone in the department. As they lose people organically, decide if the position needs to be filled or if others can absorb the work. If others can fill the position, simply do not replace the person. Again, to be clear, I am not advocating firing good people to save money. People will leave positions organically. In most cases, they retire or resign for other opportunities.

In addition, are we paying too much for subcontracted needs? Department heads not only need to be leaders within their department, but they need to manage the funds in their charge. Managers in the private sector do this every day. There is no reason we cannot hold those in the public sector to the same financial standards.

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