News release from the Paula Hughes campaign:
Hughes to require City department heads to cut wasteful spending
Calls for Departmental Audits with Input from all Shareholders
Former Allen County Council President and leading Republican candidate for Mayor of Fort Wayne Paula Hughes continued her plan to get Fort Wayne on the road to financial freedom by announcing her plan to empower departments to find ways to save taxpayers money and determine which programs need to be eliminated, retooled or enhanced.
The Hughes empowerment plan will require each city department to conduct an internal audit to see what’s working, what needs improvement, and what needs to be eliminated.
“It’s tax season and we all rightfully fear an audit from the government. It is high-time that the government fears an audit from the people,” Hughes said. “In the first 100 days of my administration, department heads will review their finances, solicit input from city employees and taxpayers, and propose ways to save money immediately and in future budgets.”
This is a departure from the current budgeting approach that plans next year’s budget on last year’s expenses. The Hughes plan encourages collaborations for taxpayer savings from her first day in office.
“Business as usual will be over at City Hall and in Fort Wayne city government once I am sworn in as Mayor,” Hughes stated. “It’s been far too long since taxpayers have had an advocate working for them.”
The departmental audit plan is an extension of Hughes’s cash-based budgeting plan, “Making YOUR Money Count” which will require all division directors and department heads to submit a prioritized budget that focuses on necessities. Each department will start at zero and build their budget from the ground up. This type of budgeting will empower each department to focus on doing more with less and to critically evaluate the need for each individual program and line-item.
This plan stems from the disturbing facts presented by City officials in its own 2009 Certified Annual Financial Report. This report clearly states that Fort Wayne’s long-term debt is $405 million. Additionally, it points out that the city’s debt increased by $78.4 million over the course of 2009. The Hughes budget plan would not allow for a debt increase. It will focus on making the current tax dollars count and getting to a point to start paying down the massive debt accumulated by the past administrations.
“We need get our budget in check and become fiscally responsible to the taxpayers again,” Hughes stated. “This excessive debt load will burden our community for decades to come if we don’t address it now.”
Paula Hughes campaign website