The City’s Flawed Budget Survey – ACES

The City’s Flawed Budget Survey The city establishment wants the citizens of Ashland to respond to a 14 question, $32,000 survey on city finances for the purpose of addressing the structural deficit in Ashland’s budget.

The draft budget survey was presented to Council last Tuesday. Because two of the establishment Councilors weren’t present, two other non-establishment Councilors were able to place the project on hold, objecting to the wording and questions themselves. There was no discussion at the council level regarding the content or topic of the questions.

However, not to be thwarted, the project is back on a special meeting agenda for today at 4pm. Councilors and citizens were given less than a 3-day notice for the meeting and most of the important topics have no links to background information so councilors couldn’t prepare.  As for the survey itself, thanks to Dean Silver who published it yesterday https://theashlandchronicle.com/revealed-the-proposed-budget-survey/ citizens who were able to get it had one whole day to review it before the meeting.  Here we go again!

We recommend that you read the proposed budget survey and Dean Silver’s views on the survey itself  https://theashlandchronicle.com/whats-wrong-with-the-budget-survey/ and the Council meeting last week Train Wreck Averted – The Ashland Chronicle.

ACES position is that this proposed survey is confusing, prescriptive, incomplete and biased.  We would prefer a different survey which outlines ALL areas of potential cost savings measures the city can address including administration, staff and benefits, streamlining measures and options for outsourcing. Remember that Ashland’s budget has increased 110% over the last 11 years and we have 3 times as many employees as any other Oregon city our size.

Hopefully, many of you can make your voices heard by showing up at the meeting (in person or by Zoom) or by sending e-mails to the City Council at council@ashland.or.us and Joe Lessard, City Manager at administration@ashland.or.us