Cut Government Waste & Improve EFFICIENCY
Despite our current lawmakers best efforts, our local government is disorganized and uniformed about the most pressing issues facing our community. The Urbana Wins team is committed to efficient government and Justin T. Weller (candidate for Mayor) will cleanup the administrative branch of government. While Cassie Cress & Teresa Beverly (candidates for City Council) will work to make the legislative branch more efficient and effective.
The Urbana Wins team believes there is in excess of $500,000 being wasted by the city government. We’d seek to remedy this and invest the savings into essential services and personnel like our first responders.
The city government wants to increase your taxes. Many voters we have spoken with shared that they felt mislead by council and the mayor. They were very displeased with the lack of clear communication and transparency about how the money would be spent and which funds the new money would be added to. The current leadership has tried and failed to raise taxers three times. The people have spoken and our team is committed to implementing alternative options.
The city government added a new vehicle registration tax. After the voters turned down multiple attempts to raise income tax, rather than first look to cut waste, the city leadership immediately sought to increase funding through means that did not require taxpayer approval.
Purchasing a vacant bank building with no plan for development while struggling to fund essential government services is an irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money. The city overplayed for the building and failed to examine other viable properties in the immediate area. Only recently has the city government come up with a plan for the building, nearly six months after they decided to purchase the property. The building will likely be a valuable asset for the city, but a clear plan should’ve first been communicated to the citizens.
The government of Urbana wastes money by duplicating unnecessary positions, such as having a separate President of Council and Mayor. In many thriving small towns this is a single position eliminating excessive spending on government salaries. The current President of Council has even said that his position, as it is currently structured, should be eliminated.
Health insurance costs for the city are out of control. The city spends about $1.6 million on health care for the roughly 84 city employees in the program. This factors out to around $19,000 per employee.
There a numerous areas that the city of Urbana could save money in. Justin T. Weller’s administration will perform annual efficiency evaluations to look for ways to cut government spending and avoid duplicating tasks between departments. By regularly assessing the government’s efficiency, the administration can quickly adapt to changing environments and save tax payers money in the process. We’ve outlined a handful of the most apparent examples here.
A commitment by Cassie Cress and Teresa Beverly, candidates for council, to vote no on proposals to increase income taxes until the government can demonstrate to the citizens that it has saved every dime it can. As mayor, Justin T. Weller would veto any attempt by council to raise income taxes without a clear explanation and effective communication to the citizens about why the money is needed and exactly what it will be used for.
Reduce health insurance costs by joining with other cities to gain greater bargaining power with insurance companies. This has the potential to save anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 or more. By creating greater bargaining power, not only can we reduce costs, but we may also be able to provide better benefits to our city employees. Our team currently has no plan to make any significant reduction in employee benefits. Urbana City Schools recently joined a consortium and will likely save close to $500,000 annually as a result. We can and must secure a better deal on health insurance for the City of Urbana.
Streamline the administration and eliminate unnecessary positions so that the government can afford critical people like a business coordinator and communications director.
Stop manually checking water meters. Most modern cities automatically check water meters which not only saves in labor, but also can save citizens money by quickly notifying them of potential leaks. Right now, the city spends about $60,000 annually (salary and benefits) to manually check meters. The current meters will need to be replaced in the next few years and we must take advantage of that opportunity to automate the system.
Automate three or more positions in the administration. Due to the city’s antiquated record systems, taxpayers fund positions that are not necessary. By modernizing these systems (like the card catalog records for utility bills), the city could save more than $165,000 in salaries and benefits.
A temporary 1% overall budget reduction across departments, saving about $150,000 annually to reign in government spending and improve operational efficiency.
Find and secure grants to upgrade the city’s energy infrastructure in places like the municipal building to reduce building operating costs by 20% or more. This will save tens of thousands in utilities annually.
Implement a modern project management system so that all government departments are better informed and aware of projects throughout the city. Most businesses who implement systems like this reduce operating costs significantly through more efficient and effective planning.
Urbana’s book of ordinances (laws) is nearly a foot thick and more than 2,000 pages. That’s because no administration or city council has done the tough work of cleaning up this unwieldy set of laws dating back decades. The Urbana Wins team will work through every page and clean up the red tape hindering our citizens and businesses.
We must reduce bureaucracy by eliminating redundant and overlapping entities. The Board of Zoning Appeals and the Design and Review Board are a perfect example of two government entities that oversee similar things and only serve to complicate progress for businesses and everyday citizens.
The people of Urbana deserve transparency and communication from their government. That’s why the Urbana Wins team has a comprehensive communications plan that you can read about here.
Our team is committed to listening to the citizens of Urbana and getting input on our plan. To setup a meeting, you can contact us.