TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN 2007 TENTATIVE BUDGET A ROADMAP TO RECOVERY AN HONEST BUDGET AN HONEST BUDGET FOR FOR BROOKHAVEN BROOKHAVEN Supervisor Brian X. Foley Town of Brookhaven, Long Island September 29, 2006 SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 DEAR TOWN CLERK AND TOWN COUNCIL-MEMBERS: I am honored to present my 2007 tentative budget for Town Council consideration. I consider this budget document to be a transformative turnaround for Brookhaven – a pledge to stabilize our Town’s finances and deliver improved citizen service. In short, this budget provides a “Roadmap to Recovery.” This is the most open and transparent budget document that Brookhaven has ever seen. By presenting an honest budget, we hope to restore our Town Government’s contract with the citizens of Brookhaven. Simply put, this document fulfills my pledge to protect the taxpayers by tackling the tough choices we face with a refreshing dose of truth in budgeting. We have discovered that the Town’s fiscal house is not in order: Structural imbalances were created in the last two budgets. Anticipated recurring mandated expenditures far exceeded the over-inflated projected revenues. Four major funds will be in deficit status by the end of 2006, with combined deficits of over $15 million. The General Fund surplus will not regenerate as in past years, due to the status of the housing market, which drives one of the Town’s largest revenues, Mortgage Tax. If the Town’s revenue and spending trends continue unabated, the General Fund surplus will be completely depleted in two years. My tentative budget provides a comprehensive plan to resolve the inherited structural imbalances and deficits we have discovered. Now is the time to summon the courage to right the financial ship of this town, wipe out deficits and build a strong foundation for our future. We have implemented a hands-on approach to managing every line of the budget, analyzing every need, and requiring departments to fully justify their spending requests. We are vastly improving the level of scrutiny and oversight of how our taxpayer dollars are spent, while strategically and prudently investing in the improvement of services we provide for our residents. MY TENTATIVE 2007 BUDGET ACCOMPLISHES THE FOLLOWING GOALS: Stabilizes our Town’s finances by ending the hidden structural deficits that threaten our long-term fiscal viability; Replaces the temporary tax gimmicks that destabilized our finances with a real reduction in the General Fund tax rate; Eliminates deficits without massive tax increases – a monumental accomplishment credited to smart restructuring and making tough choices; Provides clear and discernable savings for taxpayers by removing unnecessary vacancies for a savings of $1 million and providing a level of staffing that will provide Town residents with the services they deserve; Properly funds anticipated expenditures including cost of living adjustments for all employee bargaining units, employee benefits, energy costs and other mandated costs such as debt service; Proposes consolidation of a department and eliminating management positions and eliminating full time benefits for Town Bingo Inspectors. Restructures the Parks, Buildings, and Planning departments to bring greater accountability and enhance service delivery; Invests in innovation so that we can continue to improve our ability to serve the growing needs of Brookhaven’s 480,000 residents; And most importantly, demonstrates real leadership by bringing the people’s priorities to Town Hall. I am proud of the work that my management team and departmental administrators have done over the past weeks and months. They have been dedicated to finding real savings for the taxpayers and creating new initiatives that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of delivering citizen service. I am eager to discuss these initiatives in detail with my colleagues on the Town Board. THE ROAD TO RECOVERY STARTS WITH INJECTING TRUTH INTO BUDGETING Fixing budget problems in real time provides an opportunity to stabilize the Town’s finances and prevent harm to the Town’s Bond Ratings and an increased tax burden on Brookhaven residents. The 2006 adopted budget was structurally deficient, in that it under- funded recurring, mandated expenditures and left an $8 million hole in the Town’s expenditure lines. The 2006 adopted budget was in fact lower than 2005 actual expenditures, but did not contain the kind of significant spending cuts that would meet the adopted expenditure level. The 2005 and 2006 adopted budgets reflected a budget philosophy that routinely allowed over-spending of budget lines, rendering the adopted budget document itself meaningless. I am pleased that my colleagues on the Town Board recently joined with me to correct the budget inadequacies of the 2005 and 2006 adopted budgets and I look forward to working with them to adopt a 2007 budget that is structurally sound and fiscally responsible. THE ROAD TO RECOVERY REQUIRES REALISTIC BUDGET FORECASTING My Tentative 2007 budget will be historic in that it will not ignore the realities of funding and mandated and fixed costs as well as our economic climate: Due to changing market forces and competition in the waste management industry, landfill fees are leveling off. A flat housing market this year has resulted in a downward trend in mortgage receipt tax revenues. The Town had been heavily dependent upon these two revenue sources for the past several years, and has generated surpluses from these revenues. Energy related costs – including gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil and electricity - continue to be volatile; Employee contract costs are significant, including contractual cost of living increases, step increases and employee benefit packages. The following chart indicates that mandated and fixed costs have grown by almost 19% between 2005 and the Tentative 2007 budget. The Tentative 2007 budget includes: $172 million in accurately anticipated expenditures: 82% of the 2007 Tentative expenditures are for mandated and fixed costs, as shown below: Town of Brookhaven Tentative 2007 Budget Mandated & Fixed Cost Analysis New Staff & Initiatives 1% 82% of 2007 Tentative Expenditures are $1.7 Government Operations/Contractual for Mandated and Fixed costs. million Costs/Human Services 17% Staffing 26% $28.7 17% of 2007 Tentative Expenditures are $45.7 millio for Government Operating/Contractual/ millio n Human Services Costs. n $39 millio $23.5 Waste Management 1% of 2007 Tentative Expenditures are for n millio 23% $26.5 Benefits New Staff & Initiatives. n million $7.1 14% Gas/Energy/Utilities Debt Service 4% 15% Only 1% of 2007 Tentative expenditures are for new staff and initiatives: Correcting audit findings and improving internal controls: o Creation of a Capital Projects Division to oversee the capital program; o Enhancing the grant function to assure that the Town follows through on receipt of grant proceeds; o Enhancing the accounting function in Finance with a new Senior Accountant. Providing structural accountability which prevents corruption: o Creating a hierarchy of duties and responsibilities in departments to create accountability; o Creating supervisory positions in Parks to improve field operations; o Creating a contracts compliance officer in the Purchasing Division to improve contract review; Quality of life enforcement: o Hiring additional code enforcement inspectors; Innovation and improved service delivery: o Staffs new Constituent Response System which will save taxpayer dollars and fulfill our commitment to responsive government and enable interdepartmental collaboration in an emergency situation; o Staffs the new ServiceStat program which raises the quality of Town services by identifies operating savings and upgrading the quality of services THE ROAD TO RECOVERY ELIMINATES DEFICITS AND STABILIZES FINANCES This budget eliminates the $15.3 million in deficits across four Town funds without massive tax hikes. The deficits were created by two years of budgeting that under-funded expenditures while over-inflating revenues. The Town’s fiscal stability is threatened by these deficits. The deficits are detailed in the following charts: If the General Fund tax is not reinstated, the General Fund will be in deficit within two years. Moody’s Investor’s Service removed the positive outlook to the Town’s credit rating it assigned in 2005 because the Town did not reinstate the property tax levy for the Town’s General Fund in 2006, as it had stated that it would. Moody’s credit rating report states that “removal of the positive outlook is based on the failure to restore the General Fund property tax in the fiscal 2006 budget after the fiscal 2005 tax holiday and the continued reliance on landfill and mortgage tax revenues to fund operations.” The 2007 Tentative budget reinstated and reduced the General Whole Town Fund (A) with a tax rate of $4.47 per $100 in assessed valuation. This rate is lower than the 2003 & 2004 General Fund (A) tax rates. It also is significantly lower than the tax rate would be with a conservative 3% inflationary increase, as shown below. Town of Brookhaven General Whole Town (A) Fund Tax Rate Inflationary Analysis $5.20 $5.06 The 2007 Tentative Tax Rate is a real reduction from $5.00 the previous tax rate. The 2007 tentative rate is a $4.92 13% reduction over what a full reinstatement would be. $4.77 $4.80 $4.64 $4.60 $4.50 $4.50 $4.50 $4.47 $4.40 $4.20 $4.00 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Rate With 3% Inflation Actual Rate Using a 3% growth rate is conservative given the fact that mandated and fixed costs are growing at a level that could not be absorbed with a 3% rate increase. THE ROAD TO RECOVERY INCLUDES TOUGH CHOICES The 2007 Tentative budget: Eliminates over $1 million in funded but vacant positions. Ends health benefits for bingo inspectors. Eliminates cost of living adjustments (COLAs) for elected officials. Proposes the consolidation of a department and the elimination of four exempt positions, which will save administrative costs. Slashed department requests of over $190 million in expenditures and 350 new positions to a sustainable cost base. Scrutinized every line of the budget and cut overtime, out of title pay, supplies, equipment, contractual and other costs. THE ROAD TO RECOVERY IS PAVED WITH AN HONEST BUDGET This budget document is like none other ever provided to Town residents. It is a true policy document that indicates how and where taxpayer dollars will be spent and does the following: Establishes mission. Creates and justifies initiatives. Provides an organizational chart and departmental narrative so that residents can see departmental responsibilities. Provides departmental accomplishments and goals. Provides actual expenditures for two years and current full-year estimates. Provides detailed staffing pages that indicate every position funded. We have transformed the budget process by allowing and requiring Departments to participate in writing their budgets and providing them with budget training. Department participation in the budget process not only requires a department head to fully understand the Department’s budget, but it also establishes a sense of ownership and accountability for the budget, which ultimately results in good management practices and fiscal control. THE ROAD TO RECOVERY IS CHARTED BY GOOD MANAGEMENT A central goal of my administration is to create a “culture of competence” at the management level of Town Government that will professionalize Town operations. I have directed my managers to use best practices for municipal management to establish Brookhaven as a leader in innovation here on Long Island and throughout the state in the coming years. To build this “culture of competence,” I have created a Management Unit within the Finance Department to analyze departmental operations and manage Town spending. A Town the size of Brookhaven needs a systematic approach to professionalizing Town operations. The centerpiece of this management unit is ServiceStat, a nationally recognized data-driven management approach pioneered by former New York City Mayor Guiliani’s Comstat policing strategies and Baltimore Mayor O’Malley’s Citistat. ServiceStat sets quantifiable goals for town departments, gathers and analyzes data on department functions, and constantly holds managers accountable for their performance. The role of the executive staff in the Supervisor’s office has been transformed to include more hands-on management functions, scrutinizing proposed expenditures, hiring requests, and professional service contracts. Simultaneously, we are empowering commissioners to make recommendations to restructure their departments for greater efficiency, more effective coordination, and improved service delivery. Together with the Management Unit and ServiceStat, our Executive staff has already transformed the way our Town Government operates in the following manner: Improved controls and checks on expenditures, contracts, and hiring; Decisions about deploying Town resources are now being made based on timely intelligence and sound data; Our Insurance Working Group saved taxpayers $1.3 million by ending decades of no-bid insurance contracts within weeks; Restructured staffing in departments to create clear lines of accountability and the alarming lack of structure that previously permitted unchecked corruption; Supervised every department and division creating a mission statement, providing greater clarity of purpose, and fostering accountability; TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN TENTATIVE 2007 BUDGET INITIATIVES SUPERVISOR BRIAN X. FOLEY SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 1. Centralized Capital Engineering Division Restructure & centralize capital project administration. Centralizes functions previously split between the Parks and Planning departments. 2. Creating Accountability in Parks, Building & Planning Creates a hierarchy of responsibility and chain of command in departments to correct structural weaknesses and the lack of accountability of the past, which enabled poor performance and corruption. Restructured the Building Department, including use of the lobby space, upgraded Q-Matic call system and clerical staff realignment, to provide residents and builders with a more efficient application system, significantly reducing permit wait times. Reallocation of staffing resources in the Planning Department, complemented with some new hires to expedite and better coordinate reviews of long-range projects, to help avoid moratorium extensions and accelerate open space reviews. Realignment of Parks personnel to separate the multiple functions of the Department in order to increase levels of operational accountability. 3. Centralizing Code Enforcement Functions for Increased Effectiveness Creation of an interdepartmental code-enforcement unit to effectively coordinate efforts, reducing past inefficiencies, redundancies and contradictory enforcement actions. Harness under one umbrella, within the Law Department’s Investigative Unit, the enforcement efforts of Housing, Waste Management, Public Safety and Building. TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN TENTATIVE 2007 BUDGET INITIATIVES SUPERVISOR BRIAN X. FOLEY SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 4. Management Unit and ServiceStat Establishment of a team to set and analyze quantifiable goals for Town departments. Gather and analyze data on department functions to constantly hold managers accountable for their performance. 5. Constituent Response System Creation of a coordinated system for constituent services. Single phone number to reach all town services, to track complaints, conduct coordinated responses and improve Town services. 6. Downtown Revitalization Task Force Establish a Task Force utilizing resources from various Town departments to clean up downtown blight, develop programs and partnerships to re-establish new, thriving Main Street communities. Task Force will work with developers in establishing new “walkable” communities, less dependent on automobiles. 7. Digital Government Digitalize all government records to provide increased accessibility to constituents for government information. Will provide for information to be available to residents via the internet for all public records and permit applications. Will ultimately provide access to data about properties and land ownership information throughout the town. 8. In-House Composting Create in-house the function of composting yard waste, previously outsourced, which will save taxpayer dollars and generate future revenues. This will result in reduced odor for citizens living near the current facility processing yard waste. 9. Improving Public Safety: Safeguarding Town Assets Additional part time Public Safety Officers will be hired to provide 24/7 coverage for Town facilities. TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN TENTATIVE 2007 BUDGET INITIATIVES SUPERVISOR BRIAN X. FOLEY SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 10. Fleet Management A new Fleet Management system will be instituted in 2007 to ensure proper accounting of the Town’s vehicles and to ensure routine maintenance is conducted. A GPS module will track vehicle usage and provide efficient routing of the Town’s fleet. The Town will conduct a comprehensive inventory of all vehicles in preparation for the Fleet Management system and also allowing for re-allocation of the existing inventory. Hybrid models will be purchased whenever possible when new vehicle purchases are required. 11. Grants Working Group A Grants Working Group was created to establish policies and procedures relating to the Town’s grant processes. Prior to this year, there had not been adequate and timely tracking of the Town’s grant expenditures and revenues. In 2007, a grants coordinator will be added to manage grant reimbursements. 12. Comprehensive Land Use Plan Over the next three years, the Planning Department’s goal is to produce an inclusive and transparent Comprehensive Plan for the Town. This project will allow proper planning for the future of the Town of Brookhaven. Preservation of valued historical and natural sites will be a priority. The plan will allow opportunities for all stakeholders to be heard and their visions for future development and preservation priorities to be incorporated. 13. Restructuring: Consolidating Department of Aviation and Transportation During 2007, the Town will examine consolidating the divisions of this department into existing departments. TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN TENTATIVE 2007 BUDGET INITIATIVES SUPERVISOR BRIAN X. FOLEY SEPTEMBER 30, 2006 Savings will be realized with the elimination of four exempt management positions and reduced administrative costs. 14. Partnering to Preserve Critical Open Spaces Brookhaven Town has preserved more than 500 acres of open space over the past year. In 2007, the Foley administration will continue to work with local environmental leaders to identify additional parcels of open space for purchase by the Town. Continued acquisitions through intergovernmental partnerships will be the primary focus in 2007. Consideration will be given for more long-term revenue sources that do not rely on taxes, such as the Community Preservation Fund, a replenishing revenue for open space funded by a one-time fee to homeowners who move to Brookhaven. 15. Parks Department Overhaul In order to improve the operational structure of the Parks Department and to ensure the Town’s parks are properly maintained and developed, a comprehensive plan for this department will be implemented in 2007. Capital projects will be separated into a new Capital Projects Engineering Division. The Buildings and Grounds division will be properly staffed and re-structured to allow an increased focus on maintenance and repair of the Town’s parks. A system for tracking and handling work orders will be implemented. A tracking system will be devised to handle constituent requests and issues. This will require the computerization of the department during 2007. 2007 TENTATIVE CAPITAL BUDGET & PROGRAM 2007 – 2009 SUPERVISOR BRIAN X. FOLEY TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN, LONG ISLAND SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 DEAR TOWN CLERK AND TOWN COUNCIL-MEMBERS: I am pleased to present my 2007-2009 tentative capital programs for Town Council consideration. As you will see, this capital program has broken new ground in open and transparent budgeting. Past capital program presentations ranged from a non-specific format to a short spreadsheet included in the back of the annual operating budget, which listed only the project name and the three-year projected funding for each project. THE 2007-2009 TENTATIVE CAPITAL PROGRAM INCLUDES FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE TOWN’S HISTORY: An introduction that explains the capital spending proposal and highlights how taxpayer dollars will be spent; A true three-year capital plan, which lays out a clear plan on how capital proceeds will be used; Each capital project is detailed on a separate page which includes: o A program description o Estimated start date o Estimated completion date o Funding status o Operating budget impact o Cost component breakdown CAPITAL PROGRAM HISTORY One of the first challenges we faced was reforming the capital program process, which was disjointed and dysfunctional at best. Repeated audit findings from the Town’s independent auditors regarding the use of capital funds issued for the 2003 & 2004 audit years should have been a red-flag for action, yet they were not addressed. These findings were considered material weaknesses, the most serious of audit findings, and stated that the Town’s use of capital funds for projects for which they were not originally authorized could be in violation of Local Finance law. This type of finding could ultimately impact the Town’s bond rating. Problems in the capital program we discovered include the following: There was no relation between budgeted funds and contract costs. Contracts were adopted by the Town Board for amounts that exceeded adopted capital funds, with cost overages being solved by transferring in funding from other projects, at times in violation of Local Finance Law, General Municipal Law and Opinions of the New York State Comptroller’s Office. Non-specific capital funding of projects where many different line items were rolled into large capital budget accounts, which led to over-expenditure of funds and lack of responsibility for total project cost. Capital Funds were treated like a “second check book” where funds “left over” from older projects are carried from year to year and expensed by departments at will for items that should not be capitalized, such as purchasing $4 plastic chairs. There was a lack of project management, making lines of responsibility and authority impossible to trace. Little detailed fiscal analysis took place, with many projects being funded at a level that had no real basis in reality. Operating impact costs were not addressed. The most egregious example of the lack of a comprehensive capital program was the Mastic Pool renovation. This was a case study of what happens when poor planning, no clear administrative responsibility and lack of fiscal oversight are combined. Originally budgeted capital funds for the project totaled less than $800,000, however the project cost ballooned to over $6.3 million, a 701% increase from what was originally envisioned. CAPITAL PROGRAM REFORM After a four-month risk assessment, the New York State Comptroller’s Office has begun an audit of the Town’s finances with a focus area on past capital program expenditures. Since the beginning of the year, we have put into effect a number of capital program reforms including: Designation of a Capital Projects Coordinator in the Department of Finance to oversee financial aspects of all capital projects and assure that projects stay within adopted levels; Scrutiny of capital program requests; A new Capital Engineering Division is created in the 2007 tentative operating budget to provide professional project coordination and oversight of the capital program. This Division is being created at no additional cost by utilizing existing vacancies and re-tasking them to this important initiative. Improvements to internal controls to assure that adequate funding for a project is available and that no project is started until bond resources have been approved by the Town Board and the period of permissive referendum has passed. Segregation of projects into specific funding lines to assure that funding is dedicated to the original purpose only; Performed a comprehensive review of all capital projects to determine true funding needs and active capital projects to close out inactive capital appropriations; Reviewed the entire capital program to determine what adjustments must be made to properly fund projects, i.e. capital budget transfers, operating budget transfers. 2007-2009 TENTATIVE CAPITAL PROGRAM SUMMARY The tentative program addresses neglected infrastructure needs and builds a solid foundation for our future. The 2007 proposed program totals $51.9 million in funding as follows: $42.9 million for general fund projects funded through bond proceeds in 2007; $6.2 million for general fund projects funded through grant proceeds; $2.8 million for general fund projects funded through reserve funds. Funding is provided for a wide array of projects, which provide important and needed improvements throughout the Town, including the following projects: Renovation of the Old Town Hall in Patchogue: The Old Town Hall in Patchogue was the seat of town government for over 70 years, a historic building erected as a WPA project. Renovating this building for governmental purposes will provide an important presence in the Patchogue area and will serve our residents well. Renovation of the Former Receiver of Taxes Building in Port Jefferson: This historic building will be renovated to provide important services to area residents. Sandspit Marina: Construction of a new ferry terminal is funded. Avalon Park: Continued improvements to this park will provide residents with outstanding recreational opportunities. Clean Energy/Clean Fuel Iniatives: Funding is included for the purchase of new hybrid vehicles for Town use, clean energy solar initiatives and expansion of the Town’s CNG fueling stations. Constituent Response System: This new initiative will provide for design and implementation of a system to track resident calls for information, complaints and requests for service. It will introduce a coordinated system for constitute services that will save taxpayer dollars, create a responsive government and will enable inter- departmental collaboration in an emergency situation. Computerized Work Order Management System: This system will be implemented in Parks to improve workflow and increase responsiveness. MinuteTraq System: Implementation of this new system in the Clerk’s Office will be a major step towards achieving the Town Clerk’s goal of a virtually paperless office. A key Digital Government Initiative, this program will automate the Town’s legislative resolution process. Town wide park improvements including: West Meadow Beach, Percy Raynor Park, Neville Park, Fireman’s Park, Cedar Beach, Robert Miner Park, Stony Brook Beach, Corey Beach, Great Gun, Forge River and the Holtsville Park. A town the size of Brookhaven has diverse and deserving capital infrastructue needs. In the coming years, we are committed to analyzing and preparing for those needs in a thoughtful manner. I look forward to working with my colleagues in implementing additional capital program reforms and seeing the Town’s infrastructure restored.
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