Budget Deficits, Service Cuts, What's Next
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Budget Deficits, Service Cuts, What's Next
Over the past few months I have written about little else besides our substantial budget deficit and the fact that the City Council is planning to lay off employees and reduce services. Frankly, this has all been very troubling to me. I ran for City Council in the hope of accomplishing something great for our City and I have ended up being in a position of doing little more than finding a way to make sure our City survives. I can tell you first hand that laying people off and cutting services is not something fun to do, but financially we have no other choice.

I have been struggling with trying to find a way to make this all productive and although I still do not have the answers, I feel morally and ethically obligated to see if we can find them. It is my hope, therefore, to start this summer, either officially as a Council Member or unofficially as a Foster City resident, to look at ways to have the services we have come to know and love as part of Foster City without having Foster City and the taxpayers foot the entire bill.

My idea is to look at ways that services can be provided either through collaboration in the private sector or through public – private partnerships. I have already looked at some models in which this has worked and I am encouraged by what others have done in similar situations.

For example, in connection with services for seniors many private communities have adopted the Village Model, whereby services such as transportation, activities, shopping and the like are handled by the manager of an association of seniors who group together, as if they were a village, and the village provides these services to its members. Thus, if a village member needed a ride to the doctor or to shopping, that person would call the manager and arrange for the ride. Other communities that have adopted the Village Model, have managed to accomplish much at very modest fees. I think it would be wonderful to see whether it is feasible to start a Foster City village as a way to replace those services that particularly effect seniors.

Another area in which we will see cuts is in Parks and Recreation activities. I think that these are perfect areas to explore public-private partnerships along with the sponsorships that the City is already looking into and putting in place. I think public-private partnerships are ideal for special events like the Arts & Wine Festival, 4th of July and the like. Looking for sponsors is a great idea and will likely suffice in the short term, but the long term, I believe, requires that we invest private organizations, businesses and service organizations in truly making these events their own and removing the financial burden from the City into the future.

Transportation is another area that could be ripe for a public – private partnership with businesses and individual residents paying for operating costs, while the City’s responsibility is limited to maintenance of the vehicles.

I do not claim that I have all the answers or even that any of these suggestions are particularly great ones. My point is simply that we need to do something productive and the best way to do that is to work together as a team, public and private, and take a look at solutions that would restore or maintain services while reducing the financial burden on the City.

I plan to start looking at these issues in the coming months and I hope that if you are interested you will contact me and volunteer to get involved. This is our City and together we can take a productive approach to keeping it as great as it has become.

Those are my thoughts. Tell me what you think. Share your ideas with me by email at
cbronitsky@fostercity.org or call me at (650) 286-3504.

Council Corner

April 20, 2011
Budget Deficits, Service Cuts, What's Next

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