An Engineer (Retired) Raises Concerns with the Ashland Budget

As an engineer (Retired), I have a serious concern about the Ashland Budget.  The CIP (Capital Improvement Program) for our City is way over stated. 

This becomes an annual budget concern in my mind because besides the capital cost of CIP projects the CIP size is used to justify too large of a Public Works staff to support and manage discretionary as well as required Capital Projects.  Many of the CIP projects to me appear discretionary.  The Ashland CIP process keeps projects on the list and rolls them forward without a prioritization of elements to it. Are many of these “Capital” projects even needed ever or just nice to have?

I think the Ashland budgeting process this go around should set the CIP to zero base budgeting then start from scratch  to only reinstate those projects on a new list that rank high on a “prioritization” analysis.  Is the project really needed and what is the cost benefit?

By doing this The City should be able to to reduce public works Capital Projects Staff.
And if there is a need for a high priority Capital project under a tight Public works staff regime, a project specific construction manager can always be retained for that given project, and not depend on full time staff. Construction manager staff have their benefits paid by their private company not by the public.  And when a project is completed the staff are released. Full time city staff need to be reduced to a minimum.  Reducing Public Works Staff is one place staff reductions can be made with no adverse impact to projects that are implemented.

Ted Hall, Ashland