Who Has the Keys to the Budget Committee Being Handcuffed? Alert Citizens Have Those Keys —- Here Is One of Them

4/29/21
To : 2021 Ashland Budget Committee members

   I have just reviewed , for the second time, the RVTV videos of the first three 2021 Budget Committee meetings and public emails attached to each meeting. The meetings have a distressing conformity in that the majority of the 3hr. time was taken up with Staff presented Power Point presentations ( slide count between 50-70 slides each meeting). Minimal time was allotted so CBC members could ask and get answers to specific questions.
   Why is the CBC being ‘handcuffed’ to these Power Point slides? The CBC has the City Managers Recommended 2021-2023 Biennium Budget document. They have presumably reviewed it and have questions around areas needing clarifications and elaboration so productive discussion can take place during the 3 hour budget meetings. Furthermore we,  the public , want to hear these discussions during the meeting time. The emails received by the CBC have public feedback that, I believe, should be included in discussion and review during the CBC meetings.  
   It is time for the City Staff to discontinue the redundant Power Points at the final May 11 & May 14 meetings. Format should shift to discussion that supplies information requested by Budget Committee members. Furthermore the final format should address individual Budget member’s unanswered questions previously requested from any of the first 3 meetings. Up to this point, I believe the CBC has been deprived of adequate public time to exchange ideas and propose cost saving ideas because the first three meetings were dominated by Power Point charts & graphs. Enough already.
   At the third ( 4/27/21) meeting, Leda Shapiro spoke for 3 minutes during “Public Forum”. Clearly Ms. Shapiro has extensive knowledge and a clear opinion of the data which she feels the CBC needs to do their job. Several members of the CBC have previously asked for such details. Where is it?
   I believe the City Staff is obligated to give the CBC what the CBC says it needs to evaluate the 2021-2023 Budget. I believe the City Staff has worked hard to create the PP presentations they thought helpful but to date, they have failed to deliver what many CBC members have asked for.  Valuable time has been lost for the group to work together.
   Unfortunately, at the 4/27/21 meeting,  several CBC members clearly did not feel they had received adequate explanations from Staff. Prior to the May 11 & May 14 meetings,  City Staff has work to do to be prepared to deliver.

Thank you for your service to Ashland
Susan Hall RN
Ashland

//inserted by Sharon