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Solano County, CA November 8, 2011 Election
Smart Voter

Fiscal Stabilty

By Alan M. Schwartzman

Candidate for Mayor; City of Benicia

This information is provided by the candidate
Economic perspective
The City is at a crossroads in regards to the budget. The economic outlook is not pretty with the housing market not expected to rebound for a few more years. This means property tax income will remain flat to minimal improvement at best. The slow pace of the growth in jobs means minimal growth in consumer spending and questionable sales tax income growth.

I believe that the State budget is a mess, will likely remain that way for some time, and will affect city budgets. The State will continue to look to the cities for money either directly by taking actual dollars or indirectly as in closing of our State Capitol building and the State Recreation area. What to do?

In addition to consistently insisting on a balanced budget and 20% reserve, I believe that we must aggressively seek organizational efficiencies, reduce overtime, minimize lawsuits, structure compensation that is fair to the employees and the taxpayers, centralize purchasing, examine contracting out for some services, strive to maintain services, and maintain a pay as you go policy. We need to be prepared to marshal a large force of volunteers to keep the State Capitol and Recreation area open and maintained.

I do not believe that we can just cut our way to a sustainable budget. We must aggressively seek ways to boost our local economy. This means for the downtown a business retention program, support of retail through the development of a business/tourism improvement district, and a Shop Benicia First program. Our industrial park is nearly 20% vacant. We need to pull out the stops in attracting quality businesses to fill the park since the industrial park provides 60% of our revenues. This means developing incentives and dealing with the infrastructure needs of broadband and roads to allow the park to compete in this global economy.

I negotiated the new garbage contract which increased money to the general fund and provides money dedicated to fixing our roads.

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ca/sln Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 31, 2011 20:31
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