March 12th, 2010
05:55 PM ET

How would you suggest your town save money?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Times are very tough in cities and states across the country. High unemployment means dwindling tax revenues... which is forcing local governments to make cuts in lots of places in order to keep things running.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/12/art.chicken.catcher.jpg caption="When Miami residents were overrun with loose chickens the city added a full-time Chicken Buster to the payroll."]
CNNMoney.com highlights some of the quirkier services that are being cut:

  • Miami is cutting the position of "chicken catcher"... Apparently the city was overrun with loose chickens four years ago, so they added a full-time Chicken Buster to the payroll.
  • Chicago is toning down its annual July 4th fireworks presentation
  • Detroit is outsourcing the traditional yellow school bus service to private companies. Some school districts have even cut bus service altogether - and parents now have to transport their kids
  • Henderson, Nevada, is doing away with a free coffee program for seniors
  • St. Louis is considering charging residents for once-a-week trash collection
  • Colorado Springs is turning off the city's least efficient street lights... and they're grounding two police helicopters
  • Speaking of police, San Diego is getting rid of its horse-mounted patrol after nearly 3 decades.
  • Los Angeles, which is drowning in debt, wants to take the zoo off the city's books... they're negotiating with a non-profit group to take over operations.
  • North Las Vegas will quit offering free medical exams to city council members
  • and some Utah lawmakers want to make the 12th grade optional

Here’s my question to you: How would you suggest your town save money?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 7pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Eliminate all benefits, including schools, for illegal aliens. And while anchor babies are citizens and can't be denied benefits, if their parents are illegal or suspected to be, the school or hospital officials should call ICE and have them deported.

    If the parents are deported, minor children have to go with them.

    If the kids are citizens, they can return when they're 18 if they want to.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  2. Terrence Cain

    Stop spending money on things truly not needed. Like the expansion of parks, or giving money to new hotels and banks to build in our city. In the last 10 years there has been aproximately 30 banks and hotels built in my hometown of Odessa, TX. and it's not really needed when I live in a town of less than 100 thousand people. We can still fix roads, improve schools and expand jobs availabilites in our towns. We can slow down the expansions of restaurants too. We should be building more manufacturing plants and expanding the green jobs market. Increasing taxes is also not a good thing to do. It just hurts us even more now.

    Terrence Cain
    Big Spring, TX.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  3. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Towns should not be saving money right now. They should have the courage to increase property tax rates enough to get the same revenue from each household as they have in past years – with an automatic trigger to lower them later if values recover. If an activity can be reduced for "economic necessity" it should not be done in good times either.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  4. Frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    Freeze or cut managment pay. Cut school administration especially over $50,000 by half. Reduce ALL superintedent salaries to under $100,000.

    There is way too much bloat in the education system, too many managers keep getting around pay cuts and layoffs. Time for them to be axed. If some are let go before they get a pension, too bad. Its happened to lower employees, time for them to feel the pain.

    There is a lot of fat in the counties in Indiana. Mostly porkers in management. Way too much you collect a fee, you can pocket it. Get a fine paid, collect part of that. Like I said, pork.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  5. Jane (Minnesota)

    Get rid of our current City Manager & elected City Council members. I don't think cost reduction exists in their vocabulary. Obviously more public involvement is required.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Number one area for cost savings is school taxes. If the city/county wants to control their budgets, then the free ride for non-property owners has to stop. Apartment dwellers and house renters must pay for the kids they place into the schools.

    That means there must be a shift from property taxes to pay for schools, to enrollment taxes to pay for schools. Enrollment taxes means every parent would be taxed for each child enrolled in the schools. That is fair, equitable, and makes everyone share the burden of education equally.

    It will also discourage those who have low incomes from having children they cannot afford, and get some kind of control on the world population explosion.

    If parents had to actually pay, all the costs, of having children, then they would have to plan accordingly.

    The savings to the community, would be substantial, both in taxes, and in services required, as lower populations will demand slower growth in services, in the future.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  7. Greg

    Escort all immigrants for the next year to the American border, point south and say walk that way.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  8. Loren, Chicago

    Don't have to. My town had a change in leadership in the last election in response to the free-spending ways of the inumbent and the new mayor already instituted measures designed to reduce spending and save money. Gee, what a concept–responsible government.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  9. Terry, Chandler AZ

    I think this would be the same for any town or any school district: Fire a large portion of the administration. All cities and school districts are top heavy in admistration. Jack, please read this. My daughter and grandson will be at my home tonight. They love CNN and you, it would be way cool for this to be read on the air.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  10. David in GA

    The most important and helpful step we can take, is to evoke the exemption churches have from taxes This can not be done at a local level but they can start the ball rolling, Churches are probably the single largest property owners in the US. Most of the property is not in any way used for church purposes. A large portion of the property is income producing, The days of church charities are over. The exemption has been depressing the tax income of all venues and the cost is going up every year.

    In this time of need it must stop.


    March 12, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  11. John from Alabama

    Jack: My town does not recycle anything, because they do not believe a city of 38,000 would be profitable for its citizens. I believe we should recycle glass, plastics, and paper. Do many board's of education is a small geographical area. Duplication of effort in education for its children. To many small town and cities not going together to buy common use items in bulk to save money. To many political lines to cross to benefit its citizens.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
  12. Lori - PA


    While I have no ideas of my own, I feel that cuts to anything related to education should be avoided at all costs.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  13. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    We just spent thousands of dollars on signs that state it is unlawful to talk on a cell phone in a school zone but it is not enforced. There are hundreds of projects that take place here but there is also a lot of nepetism so my suggestions would only lead to getting a lot of tickets and probably going to jail so no thanks, I'll just keep my mouth shut. After all this is American, that land of the free and the home of the greed.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  14. Maria

    We don't need a full government staff...maybe everyone could go part-time(we're a tiny town on the skids.) There are several similar type businesses which could partner up in one large building, cutting individual expenses, the city has to consider encouraging individual owned buildings instead of one or two big corporations which come in and buy everything, then typically, raise rents and distance themselves from
    anything which happens in town. Not all of this is happening where I live, but some has and there will be more.


    March 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  15. Joe R - Houston

    Towns didn't need our permission to annex us and they don't need our permission to de-annex us. Cash strapped businesses downsize. Government jurisdictions see pending bankruptcy as a motive to confiscate more revenue. Too logical. I know.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  16. K

    How about living by the same rules we do–do you want it or need it? Just because you want doesn't mean you need. Politicians do not seem to grasp this simple concept.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  17. Jim Z..Ft. Worth...Texas

    Jack, they can begin by seceding from the county, then the state, then the nation and then become a united community that will not perpetrate their ideals on their neighboring communities, the rest of the state or nation and certainly not the entire world.

    It's all relative when the unwilling are doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful and bankrupt yourself from what you do not have. Once again we are a silly human race.

    March 12, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  18. JENNA

    How would you suggest your town save money?

    Hire more people!

    Hire more people, so that homes could be kept or purchased, good purchased from our retailers, and taxes paid.

    Unemployed people can't pay taxes, can't buy goods and services, drain social services..

    Roseville CA

    March 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  19. Jim


    In the case of Reno, Nevada, the city leaders should stop wasting money trying to become Vegas North and raise local taxes enough to cover priorities such as education and infrastructure. Of course, Republicans would much rather see ignorant students and pot holes than raise taxes, so the bottom-line answer is to elect Democrats.

    Reno, Nevada

    March 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  20. Minesh -Troy, MI

    Get rid of public unions and all the entitlements that are so generous to public sector employees.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  21. john in michigan

    My town doesn't have any money.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  22. Carl

    Jack, The same way we should do with our government, start at the top and just keep eliminating politicial leaders that are way overpaid and worthless leeches.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  23. John Martin

    I'm in New Orleans. We've already resolved our money issue. Mayor C. Ray Nagin will be leaving office on May 3, 2010. When we quit paying for his vacations our city budget deficit will go away too.

    John – New Orleans, LA

    March 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  24. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    The head of the Chamber of Commerce in our community makes over $300,000, including a hefty raise he received during this deep recession and a country club membership. I'll do it for $50K plus the golf.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
  25. Jim M.

    I appreciate and respect all those who protect us, but stop having every city, county and state law enforcement officer drive their patrol cars home everyday. We would need half as many vehicles and save on maintenance, gas etc. Sorry, we just can't afford that perk anymore.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  26. Bonnie from NJ

    I have two words for this answer: SHARED SERVICES. My town of approximately 11,000 people and virtually no crime has 42 police officers. They all make a very good salary and have unbelievable benefits and retire with all these benefits and almost full salary. Not to mention we have police cars, police pickup trucks, police SUVS and police boats. They could start there and move on to the fire department, who have way too many top of the line brand new fire trucks, and again, we have virtually no fires. Somehow there was also a need to build a huge new multi million dollar muncipal building (although much of space sits empty), along with new fire and ambulance buildings. I feel as though this should have gone to vote before building began, as the people of the town are paying for it. As a result of all of this my mortgage has just gone up $400 monthly for the taxes. It just seems that government, no matter which level, is just totally oblivious to the needs of all us working fools out here.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  27. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Cut the school budget to help lower our taxes. I hope our new Governor Christie helps us in that department. We are the highest payers in the country and it is driving a lot of us who have raised our children here out, especially the seniors who no longer can afford to live here.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  28. Mr. D

    Don't do what is usually done, cutting things that greatly affect the public. Such things as closing parks, libraries, transportation, etc, etc. Cut administrative overhead to the bone, including reducing salaries of high payed officials. Take advantage of this opportunity to clean house and become more efficient like companies are forced to do in down cycles.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  29. Jeff Crocket in New Brtain, CT

    Get rid of half the the useless union jobs in government! Then get rid of the unions!

    March 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  30. Jack in Boynton Beach FL

    There many ways for any town to save money. The first is to hire a business administrator who will not get involved in the petty politics inherent in all towns with severe penalties if he or she does. The second is to forbid any politial contributions from any source and have campaign financing limited and financed solely by the taxpayers. It would save taxpayers more money in the long run than they would spend on any campaign. The third is to enact strict ethics laws applicable to all elected, appointed, and hired officials and civil service employees. Put this in your fat chance file Jack.

    March 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  31. Gary H. Boyd

    By dumping the car allowances for 33 upper echelon city big wigs, , all of whom earn 6 figure salaries. And, while we're at it, drop the same allowances for the Mayor and members of the city council too. Since Scottsdale, Arizona is known as "The West's Most Western Town", maybe these folks ought to get horses.

    Gary H. Boyd in Scottsdale, Arizona

    March 12, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  32. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Jack Cafferty and CNN friends,

    My town and all the towns in the world should save money by:
    – Using More Solar and Wind power!
    – Creating More Jobs to Boast the Economy!
    – Stopping Consumer Fraud, Domestic Violence and Other Crimes!
    – Creating a Better Health Care System!


    Let us Now make our world
    a Better Healthier and Beautiful World
    for You and for Me!

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    March 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  33. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, today I don't know if a town can save money. When they're struggling to balance their budget. What I would suggest is a need to cooperate and work together putting politics aside. That would be a big start. They need to be honest with the citizens and put everything out in front of them for everyone to see. This way and might get a better understanding of why cuts and taxes on certain things need to be raised.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  34. Lucy, Austin, Texas

    Stop campaign contributions from corporations and big business.

    Start passing laws in your community so that if a corporation or business has contributed to any political campaign or has been giving any government official any gifts valued over $100.00 (including meals), then they can not participate in the bidding process for any job where that receipient is involved in the bidding process.

    Any business or corporation found in violation of this should be penalized with a fine of 100 times the contribution or gift and barred from the bidding process for one year. It may not stop them, but at least the city coffers will be overflowing from the ones they do catch. For a better bonus, whistle blowers should get the standard 10% bounty. When money talks people stop and listen.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  35. David of Alexandria, VA

    Cut every line item in the budget by 3% - and I mean every line item, except statutory debt servicing. Should not matter if you are union or not, tenured or not. Further, have the town council only get paid if they save enough elsewhere to do so. Here, our property values went down, but our taxes went up. Go figure.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  36. Matt from Santa Monica

    Secede from the union.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  37. Chad from Los Angeles

    For LA this is easy.

    Tax all elective cosmetic surgery and procedures. This would only affect the wealthy, which is ideal! If you can afford to make yourself look younger than you can afford to help the city balance the budget!

    March 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  38. Barbara in NC

    I would suggest everyone cutting out cable tv – NBC, CBS, ABC do an an adequate job of REAL news. The money saved could be used to buy canned food to donate to the food banks for those less fortunate.

    Cable has turned into gossip/fear/hate channels anyway. Maybe the mental health of everyone would improve too.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  39. Tony from Southport

    Fire the politicians.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  40. Rob in Michigan

    Odd year elections are city and county financed. Move them to even years when the states have the bulk of the financing responsibility. Do we really need an election cycle of one sort or another every year?

    March 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  41. Joe CE

    Eliminate all benrefits to illrgals including education – save 30%

    March 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  42. Jeff in Houston, Texas

    Here is a way for the school districts to cut costs: shut down every athletic program immediately. All of them. Redirect that money to actual education-related expenses. Every year I hear about students doing without textbooks, computer access, even shoes to wear to school. But Bubba gotta have his football stadium.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  43. Rich McKinney, Texas

    My town could save a lot of money by switching to 10 hour work days and 4 day work weeks for non-emergency personnel. The employee saves money on fuel because they only have to drive to work 4 days a week instead of 5. They save on clothing too because they only have to wear their uniforms 4 days per week cutting cleaning costs. The city saves money because vehicles will be parked for 3 days a week instead of just 2 days. This would cut fuel cost and also lengthen the vehicle service life and require less maintenance by only running 4 days a week instead of 5. This would also cut down one day that buildings use electricity for lighting and gas to heat and cool them. Also no more take home vehicles. The city owns these vehicles not the employees and they should never be used for personal use. Ever.

    I would also like to see my town start a volunteer parks program where the community picks up trash in the parks instead of paying employees to do it. This would be similar to an adopt a highway program but instead you could have an adopt a park program where local civic organizations volunteer to clean up given areas.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  44. chris

    well doen here in florida keys i wouls cut amount of police there si there is way to many na dtwo many types of police, cut salaries and benefits especially those making 100,00 and more have them buy their own cars and cell phones cut buying buildings and keep what we already have stop buying new fleet of cars and trucks all departments gee that is all i can see here

    March 12, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  45. Greg Tripp, Mechanicsburg, PA

    Laying off workers or reducing services will only serve to slow the economy even further. I would strongly suggest that Mechanicsburg provide deep tax cuts to those employers who relocate here and steep tax hikes to those who ship their jobs out of country. I propose stiff fines on those employers who hire illegal immigrants over citizens who want to work to make this country great. I propose high sales taxes on luxury items and those items that pose health hazards while eliminating taxes on nearly every other consumer item to encourage people to spend and get our local economy moving quicker down the road to recovery.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  46. Mike

    1- Review the level of management and trim some.
    2- Review entitlement programs and cut.
    3- Review spending habits and trim budgets.
    4- Recycle, sell recycled products.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  47. marlene

    Every government unit experiences less revenue collection during a recession. We have to many government units in every state. So do away with the township unit of government. Consolidation of city/county governments is also possible in many areas. This government consolidation happens often with schools, so follow the example with other units of government. Marlene in Mich

    March 12, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  48. Phil Golia

    Don't sweep the roads if it takes 10 trucks to follow a sweeper in hartford, ct. for safty reasons. Heck.. why do you also need two people in each truck.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  49. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, there are advantages to living in a very small town (28,000 population). The main one is, the budget is small enough that we never considered overspending, so we are not bankrupt like L.A., Frisco, Vallejo, Oakland, Sacramento, or the State of California. The adjustments we have had to make have all been a result of the state failing to meet its budget requirements, and/or pulling back state funds to cover their deficits. We will survive, the state probably won't, and many of the large cities won't either, because they rely on the state.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  50. Josh Peters

    Mr. Cafferty,

    I currently work for NAPA in GA and we have instituted a state contract for purchasing parts at a negotiated state contract price at all NAPA stores statewide. Any city/county agency that needs service parts or products for its vehicle fleets can buy on state contract from NAPA and save money. Since NAPA stores exists in the same communities that the agencies do business in, we can virtually eliminate the need for city or counties to stock parts. Cities and counties can obtain parts in a just in time basis so that there is no need for budget money to be tied up in parts inventory which reduces obsolescence along with reduces theft and damage to parts. This was featured on channel 12 news in Augusta in a segment called Your Money. I manage the state contract and the business within it. There are plenty of ways for cities and counties to save thousands of dollars by doing business with NAPA when a state contract is implemented.

    Atlanta, GA

    March 12, 2010 at 5:47 pm |
  51. AspenFreePress

    You mean how to the politicians running a town save money for the town and still get re-elected? That's the $64 question.
    Sterling Greenwood/Aspen

    March 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  52. Bob Tampa Fl

    One BIG garage sale!

    March 12, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  53. george coleman

    george from crofton, kentucky

    We need to adopt the attitude as a people and as a government that nothing is free and if you just want free stuff, go somewhere else and see if you can get it free there. A balanced budget bill will take care of the futre and maybe we'll come together as a nation and pay off the debt somehow. Unless we stop this idiocy of spending, we'll never be able to see the end of the tunnel and I fear we won't.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  54. Aaron

    Everytime a local or state politician makes an empty promise, they have to put $100 in the cookie jar.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  55. David

    Murfreesboro, Tennessee

    Cut down on Administrators in Education; Central Offices and Schools

    Private Garbage Pick up

    Law Enforcement Administration is top heavy

    City and County Government too many supervisors per employee. Should be 1 supervisor to every 20 employees and cut down on the layers of supervision. Make Department heads take on Supervisory roles as opposed to figure heads.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  56. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    They could start by ending "tax breaks" for new businesses.
    What good is it if you give away the farm so to speak and not get revenue in return to possibly break even.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  57. Andrew

    Get rid of useless government eavesdropping spy programs on us citizens for one thing. I can't even wonder how much tax money has been spent on spying on people having phone sex in the name of the "war on terror" while the terrorists are still "hiding" in the shadows. The only thing it has accomplished is accused the taxpayers in this country of corruption while the corruption in power lasted 8 years and left us with those public services you mentioned un payed for. I think this president is ridiculous for signing the patriot act for another year. Another thing would be to legalize marijuana for taxation. If law enforcement wants to save money then think of all those college kids getting arrested for a dime bag as a good start. Not only is it a personal choice but it has become mainstream in America and yet every politician thinks they make sense cracking down on something everybody wants anyways.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  58. John

    Remove "Governor" as an office. It is only a playground for perverted old men. Remove this office from every state.

    March 12, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  59. Greg H - Minneapolis

    Simple answer. CUT SPENDING!! Get more people to "adopt" sections of their city and keep it clean. Cut the number of employees as well, and make sure the remaining personnel are actually WORKING while on the job, rather than waiting around doing NOTHING!!

    March 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  60. Elmer Sams


    There are many ways most city, state, and federal governments can reduce spending, but even that has its limits. I believe that everyone needs to learn "there is no free lunch". Everyone wants to cut taxes, but look at the history of the federal deficit. President Reagan
    reduced taxes, increased spending (especially DoD) and ran up very large deficits. President Bush (43) cut taxes and ran up large deficits mostly on unnecessary wars. At some point we have to pay the piper. I realize that during a weak economy it is not a good time to talk about increasing taxes, but we cannot continue to live on borrowed money. The bottom line is if you want government services then you must be prepared to pay for them.

    Elmer Sams
    Burke, Virginia

    March 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  61. BOULOS

    how about makin Police Officers be the garbage men, too. I see an awful lot of them doin nothin. Give'em a broom and put 'em to work.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  62. Eddy

    Maybe if we all stopped talking about the recession it would go away.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  63. Adam

    These all seem like logical measures... except for Utah making the 12 grade optional. That one made me laugh.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  64. Ralph Spyer

    The largest percentage of my reality taxes goes to public schools so since their are fewer good jobs to be had why teach all the children. If you can not pass the test your out, less students less teachers, less money we have to spend.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  65. Bayousara

    I think the best thing communities can do is volunteer, especially for programs that will no longer be funded in cities or counties. In my community that would include our historical society.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  66. Denise Goodine


    Why can't everything be privatized? Cities, states and goverments need to let go and privatize these services. Unions have a strange hold on government. They are bringing the entire country down.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  67. Sue

    Get rid of duplicity!

    We are a town of 15K people - why does the town tax office need a staff of four or five (not counting the town tax collector - who is making over 150K in salary)? Cut the staff to 2 and let the other 2 people go. It's as simple as that; do the same with other offices where there is duplicity (animal control, DPW, etc)

    March 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  68. Keith Lee

    12th Grade Optional??? lol. I'd suggest my town save money in any way but that way!

    Keith from Alabama

    March 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  69. Howard

    Chapel Hill, NC. No particular town just all of them. Start dumping payroll. Most local and state governments add people during the past 3 years. If they have had to cut programs due to budget problems, then workers need to be laidoff in equal proportion. Otherwise, our state income taxes, real estate taxes, increasing fees, tec., are simply to provide public welfare. Put another way, additions to payroll in recent years should never have happened with projected shortfalls. The next thing to do is look at those bloated pensions and other benefits for more cuts. Let the unions cry all they want. Heck, let most of these employees go on strike. We will probably never know the difference. There is no logical reason for public employees to have jobs are life and better pay and benefits than the private sector.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  70. paula

    the city of Charlotte pays 1 million dollars for publicity for Public Schools?????????????

    March 12, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  71. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Lay off about half of the lazy workers that spend more time at the donut shop than working or drag in work late, leave early, take twice as long for lunch as allowed and still expect a big raise. We have just went through a scandal where JEA lineman were spending about an hour eating breakfast on company time without even have been out on the job. Tells me we don't need near as many employees if that is the way they won't to operate. Cut out all the Mayors pet projects that he thinks will make him an outstanding major, good luck. They should run him out of town for wasting millions of dollars

    March 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  72. The Broker.

    "More community involvement in neighborhood-watch, may save some vandalism damage." I'm the worst to ask these questions, so much office equ seemed to go missing in governments."

    March 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  73. Jeff in Minnesota

    I think every muniticpality, county and state needs to put all of their programs on the table and see what needs to stay and what needs to go. As your bullet points show, there are all sorts of things that have been added into budgets over the years for good and bad reasons. When times get tough, only those programs that offer real returns to citizens get to stay.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  74. Denis Duffy

    The town fathers in Upper Saint Clair, Pa think money grows on trees and that they know what is good for the citizens, whether the voters like it or net. The answer? Vote them out of office.

    Denis Duffy
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  75. Rich Worrall


    I have lived in Nassau County, Long Island my whole life(54 years) and we have County government, Town Governments within the county and in some cases village governments within the town. Does it sound like a lot of government and duplication of services and the associated taxes that go with it? You bet it does. Just look at our tax bills(one of the highest in the country). Will it change? I doubt it. But it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to reduce costs if someone in charge really wanted to.

    Rich, Syosset, New York

    March 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  76. A. Smith, Oregon

    I would instruct that Town, City and Community to vote out all Republican incumbents and to vote in as many Democratic party public servants as they can for a prosperous and better future.

    The only way for American's to domestically prosper is to weed out all Republican party members from public service. Shut down both needless wars in the Middle East, close hundreds of unneeded military bases overseas and begin funneling those Trillions of taxpayer dollars back into Domestic spending.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  77. J Stuart

    NYC could save money by become more efficient and cutting back in waste. For instance in a nearby park (John Jay Park) I often see the all the lights in the park house (3 floors) on 24 hours a day even though the park is locked and closed at 8PM. I wonder how much money is being wasted on electricity and how many other NYC building are doing the same.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  78. Steve

    in Duarte, CA the city is working intelligently with ATT & T-mobile to improve one of the parks there. The basketball courts there are crumbling, and in exchange for being allowed to put cell towers there (which will double as poles for lights for the courts) the telecoms are tearing out and putting in new courts and lights. The community gets better cell reception, and improved parks at no cost to the tax payer and the telecoms improve their customer service. Win win for all.

    Steve, Duarte CA

    March 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  79. Manoo, Staten island, NYC

    First of all, City must get its fair share of tax. First thing, I would do a study on potential tax evasion and then would try to eliminate the practice of tax-evasion by having tougher penalties, followed by amnesty of people/businesses for their default. Small businesses, in my opinion, can specifically be targeted for the fair responsibilities,

    Secondly, the budgeting process we are following at this time is based on current spending. It is somehow a good way but if we add a need-based budgeting to it, it might help.....for example, some programs need a cut, should get cut.

    Thirdly, we need to change the way the City does business, find and cure abuse of funds and its misappropriation.

    Lastly, City officials should look at its financial resources as they see for their own home financial matter – I mean treat it as your primary responsibility to manage it effectively.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  80. Ron in Indiana

    An immediate pay cut of 12% for all political "leaders", from our local mayor up to the President, including all members of the Senate and Congress along with a salary freeze for 3 years and a max pay increase per year of 2% for the next 20 years. The people of this country have suffered deeply for the choices made by our elected officials. It is time they own up to their bad choices and suffer a little bit too.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  81. Dennis North Carolina

    get rid of professional politician and put term limit in place. the list could be a mile long but no one would listen.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  82. Scott Stodden

    I can't give a clear and exact answer to this question Jack because in my town where I live we have great schools, great city leadership, and great people who support the town. I would say clearly that in such a dramatic time when everyone needs to save money we should make cuts that make sense and cutting schools bus services, making 12th grade optional, and closing down schools is not the way to help save money, this will only make things worse for the kids. We all know every single city in this country spends money on things that are not needed, I say make cuts where neccessarry but not cuts that are going to affect people and children!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    March 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  83. James

    Get rid of pensions. Why would you pay someone to not work?

    March 12, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  84. Bev

    I agree with a lot of these things you have here.
    Such as free medical exams, free coffee, the mounted patrol, the two helicopters, less fireworks, and chicken catcher. With these savings they can hire a few more Policemen etc. We need more jobs but not unnessary ones like these.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  85. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    Stop acting in compliance with the war on drugs, and release marijuana smokers and dealers from the jail. Stop throwing homeless panhandlers in jail. It seems that every city, county, state and federal agency is just another excuse to seperate us from our money and punish us. I don't know how they could have run short on cash. Maybe they should stop hiring their nephews and cronies. That would save us billions.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  86. Robert T. Bruce

    Reform education and get rid of the layers and layers of Bureaucracy. We waste more money on the Bureaucracy, while teachers are being laid off by the hundreds.

    LA, CA

    March 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  87. Bob

    That is easy to answer.

    My town refuses to lay-off any workers. Therefore their answer is to raise taxes on everything they can. With house prices down and a continuing spiral in employment it keeps getting worse. They are living in the past not the present.

    The only reasonable answer is to cut back on non-priority services, no overtime except for emergency services, freeze on hiring, bonuses and promotions; assess current contracts regarding services to residents and terminate contracts where not really needed. Do we need a large city or county bureaucracy just to oversee the contractors who are doing all the work. Foster campaigns for more voluntary services by residents to replace paid services. Consolidate city and county agencies with overlapping missions and remove layers of unneeded management. Institute some furlough days.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  88. Ronaldo D.

    1) Pay a bounty for anyone inside or outside municipal employment rolls who identifies fraud or wasteful expenditures. Give them a one-time percentage of the annual amount saved. Make it worth while. Let them take it in property tax credit (non-taxable) or a smaller amount in cash. 2) Tax Spam. If advertisers can identify my e-mail account, computer ID etc and send me unwanted junk spam then provide a means where I can forward the spam to my local state and or municipal revenue depts. at which time the spammers are taxed. Oh and sweeten the deal with an accumulative finder's fee bounty account whereby I continiously build up tax credits althoughbeit in fractional increments which I can claim each year when I file. Each spam transmission is of itself a posted individual advertisement just like a TV ad. Take-em the same way.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  89. alex

    In many cases these drastic measures could have easily been avoided with a little planning and less politicing. Most states spend more on roads than our children, many support programs with lottery or gaming monies that degrade our values. Reducing energy and water consumption could save businesses and residents all over the country but utilities are in the business to supply more not save. Cities should make building, zoning, planning, code enforcement self-sufficient by charging fees to those who use the departments. Grant departments and economic development teams should be priorities to help offset costs. A little foresight would prevent the "catastrophe stories".

    March 12, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  90. Harlo

    I suggest getting rid of the post salary that all government or city oficials receive. Most people are not aware that people who hold government jobs continue to receive their salaries for life and the salaries are adjusted based on inflation. Why do these people need to continue to get paid a salary by the tax payers when they no longer work there. I don't receive checks for jobs I held previously. Why should they? Get rid of it and the budget gets fixed instantaneously.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  91. Bob Ramos

    My suggestions are:

    1. Reexamine what are municipal core services. By that, which services would not be provided if the City did not provide them. The mandatory ones are police, sanitation, fire, etc. Sell/lease/auction/whatever all other City provided services. In my City, we operate a number of municipal golf courses that lose money.
    2. Ask the employees for their suggestions (other than just supervisors)Insure that each suggestion will be taken seriously and no one will suffer reprisals for their input.

    There are other good suggestions but these two should suffice for now.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  92. Bobby

    Having more financial transparency within local government is a great start! Many voters/ taxpayers are unaware of "designated funds" that are used by elected officials. There have been instances where officials will spend $80,000 on remodeling 18 month old offices, rather than use that money for the community in which they were sworn to serve. Still politics as usual...

    March 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  93. Matt

    San Diego could save me, personally, a lot of money by fixing those potholes in the streets which pop my tires, and once even broke my axle! Can't tell you how many tiems after a storm, some potholes about 6 inches to a foot deep pop up all over the older, but high traffic, streets. And how about finally getting SDG&E to play fair...

    -Matt, San Diego, CA

    March 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  94. Brandon

    Contract out EVERYTHING, even make the city employees BID for jobs!

    March 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  95. Elizabeth Limoli

    I am from San Diego, California. Our city has a water shortage and the citizens were asked to conserve water. That is good. However, the city then hired 4 or 5 "water police" to enforce the conservation effort. The salaries would be over $100,000.00 for each water cop. What a waste of money.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  96. Layne Alleman

    Jack, That would be hard to do without having a private, impartial accounting firm check the towns books to figure out where the most skimming has been done. Seems their computerized books keep deleting themselves at the most inconvenient times; when the audits are due. Kinda funny bout that, seems to happen every time, too. Darn them new-fangeled picter boxes. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  97. MJ Spearman

    Lets start w/ the recycling programs that are hardly enforced, all paper & plastic products coming out of a government building should be recycled. Government vehicles should be all hybyrds or electronic. City buses should run on natural gas. All Government bathrooms should use automatic flushing systems and faucets. Government offices should use motion detectors as light switches so that if the persons is not in their office, the light can cut off, because its not in use. Just in time systems should be used to distribute paper and office products, this will eliminate over buying of office supplies. I have a lot more, but these are some of my first steps.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  98. John Scisco Miellen

    One way to save money is to limit pensions of all city employee's. The biggest cost to cities and municipalities is not the daily fiduciary costs of emplyee's but the retirement benefits. Why are city, state and government employee's beholded to pensions that will never fail. Look at all of the private pension funds that have since been exterminated and left on the backs of American Citizens. In order to decrease overall costs I think all government paid employee's should be converted from a pension fund to a 401K or ROTH 401K that leads to an equal payor share for retirement from both parties. The results of recent pensions totalling over 100K from city empolyees is disgusting when people are losing their homes and their jobs.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  99. Karl from SF, CA

    I live in one of the worst areas of San Francisco. Many times a day a pumper and a hook and ladder go by, at 5 to 10 gallons per mile, not MPG, to assist a passed out drunk or doper. They say it runs about $1,000.00 per trip and that is 10-15 times a day at this one station. 2 minutes later the ambulance shows up and the FD goes back to the station having done little or nothing to help this situation. Let the fire trucks just be fire trucks. It’s a lot cheaper.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  100. So. Cal. Tom

    Get sponsors for city vehicles, give them signage rights to them for advertising. Make sure all computers, printers, lights, thermostats are turned off when city employees leave for day. Staff as many areas with volunteers as possible. Ask unions for wage and benefit concessions or employees will be laid off.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  101. Dianne Corson

    They already plan on closing half the schools, so my other suggestions are: stop giving jobs and benefits to illegals, start routine traffic stops to check for valid drivers license, current auto registration and valid auto insurance. These stops would generate a lot of money for the city and state. I see violations every day. Put some teeth into code violations. If you can cite someone for property violations, allow the inspector to come back onto the property and see if it has been fixed. The scare tactics do not work for most people.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  102. Banned in Hartwell GA

    It's too late in some cases, but Hartwell could scrap any additional plans dreamed up by outsiders to "beautify" our fair city.
    Hartwell GA

    March 12, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  103. Dennis

    Stop decorating the Streets and putting disney lamps up,Stop all Cops from DRIVING there Cars Home,Keep the Ac at a Higher Temp in the Summer,Stop Burning School Field Lights when they can,Sub out Lawn Care etc,Cut the Retirement for these Lazy People,Stop wasting millions on new buildings,Stop all the code enforcement,THATS A WASTE.....

    March 12, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  104. DrZ

    I worked with some county hospitals, Those executives being paid 200-600k are peter principled out. It takes them 6000 hours to watch 60 minutes.

    Some of them can't even do email or sync a phone yet they are in management decision making positions on future technology and process. they blow useless money on studies and status-quo as a safe bet and they sit on lots of corporate boards so they can get out of the facility and away from decision making,

    You need talent with current skills in CTO, CIO and other roles not people that have been there 20-30 years and have a job because of seniority. I know they can get the job but can they do the job.

    Many county facilities run at 25-50% higher cost due to benefits. In one facility it took 10 people to order a box of paper so think salaries, pensions, overhead and more. They never eliminate positions no longer needed and never use technology to eliminate positions. This is caused by unions and politics.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  105. Phillip Rosett

    Most municipalities are being overrun with branch banks which have taken over storefronts and pay no sales tax. I would have these banks either pay a prorated tax or raise the property tax to the landowner who rents to banks to compensate for the lost revenue.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  106. Joanne

    Get rid of 75% of the Politicians, reduce the ridiuclous pensions and stop paying for Gold Statues that look like Hell (like they did in our City)......get the nutcases out of Office.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  107. Tom from Colchester Connecticut

    How about cutting back on all those "extra" red & blue lights on the local and state police cars? I appreciate what our law enforcement officers do, but people used to stop for the police when there was only ONE red light on the roof. We don't need to be blinded by a dozen flashing strobe lights just because we were speeding. The spending on extreme electronics for local law enforcement is out of control.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  108. Judy

    I would ask them to stop catering to the schools, and make them accountable for how they spend the taxpayers money. I understand there is considerable waste in our schools, and still our kids are not getting any better education. They need to have their feet held to the fire or face drastic cuts. California is one of the worst states with this problem.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  109. Mike

    All excellent ideas, indeed. Especially the removal of the 12th grade as propsed in Utah. Nothing like having a bunch of 16 year olds out of school AND out of work. Great idea.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  110. Willie Steed

    Do not cut services. Raise taxes. Ballance budget. :Put price controls on medical services and drugs. Jail those that take more than they give.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  111. Rod

    From San Luis Obispo, Ca.

    Our biggest costs include: Firemen, Police, and City and County
    maintenance workers. The average pay for this group is well over
    6 figures each. They have taken a small pay cut, and had a few
    furlough days, but we remain severely over budget.
    Most of the problem surrounds Union Contracts, and they seem
    to be un-willing to settle for pay cuts, so that leaves large layoffs, or
    bankrupcy as the only options. It's really to bad. If we could cut wages
    by 50%, then everyone could stay employed. But because of the
    greed of a few, many will lose their jobs and receive nothing.
    Government work used to be called Government Service. But
    that term no longer represents reality. The only ones that they seem
    to serve is themselves, as they feed at the trough. Something
    fundamentally has got to change with their atitude.

    March 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  112. The Broker.

    "Now how I save money. I just bought an electric pencil sharpener for $6-00. choked with pencil dust. I will have it working great in about 45mins." I love my thrift stores.,

    March 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
  113. Steve Baker, Aurora, IL

    The time has come to end defined benefit pension plans for all government employees. If a 401K is good enough for the rest of us it is good enough for them.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  114. Nick L - Manhattan Beach CA

    Street lights: Turn off EVERY OTHER street light. They are extremely wasteful anyway. Turn them off altogether in remote areas.

    Increase taxes on electricity, water and trash pick-up. People will adapt by consuming less.

    Start actually enforcing the "cell phone ban for drivers" and generate revenue from the fines.

    Create "car-free" days for cleaner air and..a boost to public transportation income.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  115. Donaldo

    First, cut from the top. We have WAY too many government "do nothing" jobs. All public employees should take a minimum 20% pay cut. Let's start with that.

    Like any corporation, look at productivity. Every agency needs to be reviewed, just like our family budget.

    For many months, I have claimed that redundacy of jobs is part of the problem. In my county, we have 1 Fire Dept, servicing a large metro area,while at the same time,we have a dozen or more police agencies with their bureacracies in place, providing comparable services. So why does Fire do it more efficiently, because of public malaise. No one talks about this, certainly we do not want to cut police, but I am willing to bet with all of the duplication we could say a significant amount of taxpayer money. The same is true in public education. Truthfully, we need to rethink our processes, because if you look carefully, just under the surface, we have been spending wastefully for years, we just did not know it.

    Good luck on this one, cause it is obvious to me what we need to do.
    Not a position to take when the system breeds fear.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  116. Sayyed

    Nice saving strategies targeting seniors, childrens, residents and the most vulnerable, even the zoo animals. Paycuts for officials, anyone? Why not do a 10% paycut across the board for two years.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
  117. Jack Phoenix,az

    Stop the trash collection for recyclables. Everyone strips out the Aluminum and metals and all that is left is trashy paper. I put my barrel out once ever 3 weeks, since there is nothing in it.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  118. Joseph Kavanaugh

    Our Town can save money if:
    1. People receiving unemployment benefits spend one hour a day on community service.
    2. Men & Women incarcerated spend an hour a day on community service.
    3, Invite Wolf and Jack to our town and have them in a Mud Wrestling contest. The proceeds would go to our declining education system.

    Postal Joe,
    Rock Hill, NY

    March 12, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
  119. Ray Rito

    We could save our city (Detroit) a lot of money if we outsourced our
    corrupt City Council.( including the dead beat borrower on the Council).

    Next the Detroit Public School should be outsourced. They have proved their inability to produce an acceptable graduate product.

    Actually, why not outsource all City services and save the money for mowing down the thousands of abandoned buildings.

    With that being done we could plant trees and have a nice park for the two guys left behind to shut the last lght off when they too bail on the once proud City

    March 12, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  120. David Gohn

    Why do we need representation the way the governmental structure is now? I say we abolish the parties and all the representatives and their countless # of staff. This could work on all levels of government, Local, State and Federal. We are not being representative of what the taxpayer elected an official for, only for the best interest of their best investment. The taxpayer could use today's technology (Internet) to vote on issues. The majority vote within a township, county, state, region, country would determine issues and what laws, bills, taxes would be in effect. There would be deadlines to vote on issues, not drag issues on. This would also let the taxpayer determine what is important to support with taxpayer money and stay within their budget. It would eliminate the pork barrell spending, lobbyist controlling decisions, and all results being positive or negative would directly effect their decision and input. A board could be established based on population per level of government to determine the response and concerns the taxpayers would like a vote on, set a deadline for items that should be part of bill, send out to taxpayers, give them a deadline to respond to, add to, delete. majority once again would determine what would be included, send out again with deadline to vote upon. Obvious this is a short version of how it could work but this would eliminate billions of dollars in government payroll, life time benefits, corruption and allow more money to go to actual cause and purpose of tax dollars – One other solution is to follow the "Lean Management "concept – another idea is to have our federal representives put up their own personal bond money on each and every vote that is to be a bill or law. If a determined and reasonable deadline is not met to vote on then they would lose their bond money.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  121. shannon edwins

    lf bus services are being cut I think some parents if given an option wouldn't mind contributing towards the cost of transportation. Without the school buses to transport kids to school, parents will have to pay out of their own pockets to pay for gas to get the kids to school anyways. I think this would be a more convenient option for some families. I figured that if I spent $20.00 a week on gas to transport my kids to school each week that would be $80.00 a month out of my own pocket. For some parent's this means more than the cost they may have childcare arrangements that don't provide transportation then they are going to have to figure out a new work schedule to be able to transport their own kids sometimes this is not possible. Also some parents may not have a vehicle and this could present a safety issue for the children. When it comes down to it the safety of the children has to be made a priority and I think most people would agree on this.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  122. ben stockton, calif

    ive got a different spin on this.. the way to generate money is to heavily fine cell phone users while driving. impound the car.fine homeowners and landlords for having a home in a blight condition. generate income for driver that refuse to obey traffic rules cities across america will benefit from the income

    March 12, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  123. Arnie Falvo

    We need Health care reform now!!! Do it and then adjust it later! There is so much fear mongering that people don't know how to see things clearly! If Obama loses this, the party of NO will get more antagonistic (as if that were possible)! I would like to see how the Repubs will fare in November for just sitting on their hands and lying through their teeth.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  124. kittie in Mexcondido

    Escondido CA could take away the generous car allowances from city employees and stop allowing police officers who live out of the city to take their cars home at night. They could pay the city manager, attorney and other administrators no more than the median income for the city. They could make the fire and police union personnel pay their own pension contributions instead of using city funds. They need to stop funding the failed Center for the Arts and sell it off to private interests who could better manage it and make a profit. And, they could stop being a sanctuary city for illegal aliens and providing free services to them. This all could be accomplished without raising taxes by one thin dime!

    March 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  125. Mike in Indiana

    Tax abatements have been given to companies to bring jobs to local municipalities. Those jobs never happened, but the abatements continue.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  126. Sir Walter

    The only way my city, Toronto Canada, is going to save money is to elect an entirely new city council this fall, during the municipal elections. Toronto has been governed by tax and spend socialists for the past seven + years. They have changed a once great city into a provincial backwater. Special interest rule the day and councillors and the mayor have developed a sense of self entitlement where the citizens no longer matter.

    Come to think of it, I see the same thing happening with your federal government......

    Toronto, Canada

    March 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  127. Arnie Falvo

    I know this is not related to the topic today but I should mention , JAck, that I live in Tokyo and the health care here is doing just fine, thank you! Why can't the USA compete with Japan on that playing field? I am a professor at a Japanese University and pay into a private teachers mutaul fund. I never pay more than $1000 out of pocket on my 30% deductible here. Every month they take out about $300. Sounds good to me for a family of four! Even though my daughter is 23 and still in college she is covered. Even my 27 year old can get coverage here when she comes home from the USA. I will not not give up my coverage even after I retire. Funny, isn't it?, I have to travel to Japan after retiring to the USA just to get quality health care! And I cannot retire till at least 65 to qualify for medicare.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  128. William Courtland

    Federal trust saving and assembly.

    It is in the nation: thus of the nation: thus application of corporation to the nation: can be taxed in product of creation. While the public pays for a portion: buy municiple tax: the State pays a portion via sales tax of corporation, and Federation does not tax but State and Municipality: national customs... Warrants and Bonds...

    Thus the Lamp Post is cheaper: made by a company of kind for all over America. Holds a USPS postal Route Standard in make and method of connection and installation to grid networks...

    Clean energy grids need to be built somewhere... We can pick Japan: but Detroit would be pissed onto the next century for not founding it first.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  129. Warren in Ohio

    You forgot to list Youngstown, Ohio, which today closed down half its jail and laid off over one-third of its police officers to make up for a $5 million budget shortfall. Why stop there? Why not fire all current city cops and create an all-volunteer police force as well as an all volunteer fire fighter force and an all-volunteer city administration? Make all payments to the volunteers strictly private based upon a fee for service. That will make our city function just like the health care system. You only get what you pay for, not what you need.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:32 pm |
  130. Chris from Buffalo NY

    Hi Jack,

    Buffalo, NY, has a long history of squandering taxpayer funds. The best way our city can save money is to oust its incompetent leadership. Instead of focusing on the core needs of residents – good schools, good jobs, and public safety – Buffalo repeatedly invests in "silver bullet" projects. Current debacles include a huge public giveaway to a retail store, calls to build an unneeded "signature bridge" to attract visitors, and a $40 million project to allow cars to drive on the tracks used by metro trains!

    March 12, 2010 at 7:34 pm |
  131. Hannah

    I shake my head in amazement with some of these cost cutting projects..,,,making 12th grade optional-more uneducated to end up on unemployment, cutting school bus service hmmm....more uneducated ,,can't get to school at all, cutting free med. exams for city council...never should have had them to start with. Turning off least efficient street lights..hmmm..great a new area for crime. Maybe start with a decrease in city council salary & their budgets. Wow, sure sounds like the good ol. USA is a super power!!!!

    March 12, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  132. Allen Billups

    Congress needs to pass the Health Care Bill ASAP!! I'm a retired disable veteran who happen to have Tricare and Blue Cross. Blue Cross just increased my premium 10% last month with co-pay without prior notification. I worked for over thirty years both military and civil service. My retirement check didn't increase. The Army promised me free health care !!!

    March 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  133. Steve Royal

    All people in Austin, Texas stop paying for war crimes committed in undeclared wars by The United States of America and buy themselves health care that has been stolen by the insurance trust.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
  134. Mike from So. Cal.

    Change from spending money first and collecting it second, to only spending money that has already been collected.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  135. Brenda

    The City of Phoenix might try cutting back on some of its high paying salaried employees. In the private sector, almost every industry has either furlowed employees, cut their pay by 10-20%, or cut hours. It bothers me greatly that the city just passed a 2% food sales tax, which will hit the poor and unemployed extremely hard, but there are Assistant Managers and Arts Managers making from $80-$100 thousand per year in salaries, and this probably does not include their car allowance and benefits. Do we need an Arts Manager in this economy? and what the hell do they do?

    March 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  136. Don in Las Vegas, NV

    My town wouldn't have to save money if we simply stopped the bogus wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  137. Larraine, Abingdon, MD

    Republicans have been great about framing taxes as always evil. In my county, they don't even want to put in a hotel room tax. It would only affect
    travelers. My husband and I have paid hotel room taxes wherever we have traveled. No big deal. Meanwhile they keep on cutting back services. Our real estate taxes are not all that high, yet a few big mouths make such a big stink that nothing happens. It's ridiculous that the word "tax" has become a four letter word.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  138. Ron

    Why not quit paying for government officials transportation. They have a "job" just lke the rest of us. We have to buy our own cars, gas and maintain our vehicles.

    What would happen if we took their vehicles, drivers and all amenities away from them? Oh yes, and that would include drivers. Let them sit in traffic like we do, pay for gas like we do.

    Also, take their good insurance coverage away from them and make them use the same type insurance they are going to make us have under their "great" health care reform."

    March 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  139. MC

    Privatize as many jobs as possible. Cut city services down to leave those that are actually preventative or profitable (parking enforcement makes money, etc...). get out of all unions, they are only interested in supporting the senior rank-and-file and everyone else can go tio hell as far as they are concerned. Endorse government de-centralization as much as possible. Allow private industry to set up parks and staff them, giving them the right to name the parks after their organizations. Close any museum that needs funding from the city the city to remain open. Open these places (because 'tolerance' museums are kept open to promote politicians goals) for one day a week and let the kids be brainwashed only on that day, and staff it with volunteers.
    Hold elected officials to the same standards as the electorate – they get a parking space for free and that is it – the rest runs like a private company, and no-one is eligible for 'double dipping', if they want a separate salary and benefits, they must take a proportionate reduction in the previously 'earned' benefits. This will help employment as well.
    The list is endless, the politicians just don't have the balls to enact any of it.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  140. Chuck Barker

    My town has a city bus service that basically is hardly utilized by anyone. Every little 20-seat minibus you see running up and down the streets is almost always empty.

    This service only exists because the federal government subsides it, but there are expenses galore.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  141. Kathy

    Stop paying 1975 sick days with 2010 dollars. Sick days are to be used for sickness. Use it or lose it! It seems I would have been healthier if I had worked for my own town instead of a large corporation. Town employees obviously never get sick and retire with thousands of taxpayers dollars.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  142. Pete - Hiawassee, GA

    Easiest way to save money is too eliminate corruption and waste. Eliminate the age old good ole boy mentality by cleaning house, replacing all current and elected officials and staff with nothing but housewifes.....................who have more decency and common sense than anything.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
  143. doug the man

    From Livrmore, ca. FEEL GOOD GOVERNMENT IS ALMOST ALWAYS BAD GOVERNMENT. Look at the money that's spent on social programs and eliminate the waste. Let the private sector pick up the tab. I'm tired of paying more in taxes simply because I work hard. I want my money spent on improvments to our city and education not the bums who live off the system. Help the kids leave the bums behind.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  144. Kevin Kelly, Chicago, IL

    HI Jack - the listed ideas below are basically token jokes, in terms of cost reduction. Major cities have grossly bloated payrolls, with many of those workers recieving fat, bloated pensions and benefits after retiring (whereas their private sector coutnerparts have to keep working).

    What we need to do is get some politicians with "testicular fortitude", hire McKensey, Blain, any of those analytical consulting companies, and figure out how to deliver the same amount of services, with a LOT less people. I'm sure it will be a cake-walk for them.

    Then go in and start slashing the payrolls. Cut out the fat. THAT is how you're really reduce costs. Not piddling around with these other token measures.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  145. kara johnson

    I question the San Diego police department for getting rid of its horse-mounted patrol after nearly 3 decades. Have they done an carbon footprint and cost analysis comparing the cost of their horse fleet to cars over that time period? I find it very hard to believe that the horses really do cost more to own and maintain than a fleet of cars over a long time span.

    If the city was serious about saving money they should further develop their bike cop program. In Providence RI, a bike cop cost ~$50,000/year less than a police car in gas, maintenance, overall costs. The bike cops also completely bring in more tickets since they are more inconspicuous than a police car. It doesn't pollute, promotes good health, reduces the carbon footprint, saves money, and brings in money. Any police department nation-wide would do well in considering this approach to a win-win situation for reducing costs.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  146. Patrick Howard of Denver

    Personel expenses are among some of the largest city costs. I think by enforcing a No Overtime Policy, except for disaster/emergency, the city could probably shed considerable costs.

    Also, from an energy perspective, the city seems to waste energy as street lights come on while there is still considerable daylight. The lights could be delayed for at least 1-2 hours, which would add additional savings.

    Lastly, much of Denver's revenue comes from the large crew of parking enforcement throughout the neighborhoods of downtown. Instead of sending out enforcement officers in the gas-guzzling jeeps that the city provides, how about switching to non-motorized, environment-friendly vehicles, which would not only save the city money. This might even help Denver's pollution issues.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
  147. Russell Watley

    I can do better than providing ideas to save our town money – we could save money for the entire nation!! Yesterday, I received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau – basically telling me something that I already new and was awaiting – the Census reply form. Now, we spent millions of dollars sending out a letter to each and every household – be it an apartment, trailer park, or home, telling us to expect the form and how important it is to complete and return.

    We could have broadcasted a public service announcement (which I think that I've seen) to say the very thing that the letter indicated – the same info that probably will appear with the form itself. Let me know when that Census Director position is open again, I'm pretty sure that I could do the job for less wages and benefits and also save tax payers some money.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  148. Annie, Atlanta

    We’re unincorporated. We need to get rid of our County Chairman and some of our commissioners. We’re working on it. Our homes lost 20-25% of their value, yet these clowns raised our taxes 21%. I love how Republicans say Dems can't govern, while picking our bones clean. Wish us luck.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  149. Nancy, Tennessee

    I would like to take away some holidays from public employees that the rest of us who work in the private sector do not enjoy. Don't cry for the public sector. They enjoy wages and job security well above what private industry employees do in our state.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  150. Russell Watley

    We can do better than to save a town some money – how about if we could save our entire nation some money. Yesterday, like many of us, I received a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau telling me when to expect the Census form and how important it is to complete and return.

    This is some info that could have very easily been diseminated via the media – maybe a Public Service Announcement? Uncle Sammy spent millions of dollars to tell us something that we already knew. Let me know when that Census Bureau Director job opens up again – I could do a much better job for less.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  151. Ken in NC

    Stop allowing hurricanes to pass through town or snow storms and that would eliminate the need for those emergency funds.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  152. Shirley aka Tillie

    Why do they get so many days off?

    March 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  153. Tomas

    Legalize and tax cannabis.

    Free ONLY non-violent offenders for cannabis possession immediately from jail. That also saves more money. Less of public funds for cops to make unnecessary arrests.

    Nobody can disagree that cannabis is just as safe or safer than tobacco and alcohol. Legalizing this substance will not cause social decline because practically the entire adult population that grew in the 60s and 70s has used it. They still went on to become doctors, lawyers, and politicians.

    March 12, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
  154. michael armstrong sr.

    Stop giving illeagles American benefits that alone will balance the budget .

    March 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  155. Nick

    Why not legalize and tax cannabis instead of letting all of the money get funneled to criminals?

    March 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  156. James

    How about getting Obama and the Congress to keep all those US taxpayer billions going to Israel for American cities and towns instead! I am sure the pro-Israel bias there at CNN will prevent this one from showing up here at your blog Jack!

    March 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  157. Ken in NC

    Turn the street lights off at 10PM. If you are out late night that is what head lights on your car are for.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  158. Partha Dutta

    Excellent question. How about each public employee (state and federal) take a 10% pay-cut immediately and until our GDP improves by 20% – of course that means state legislators and the feral legislators.

    Partha, Lexington, KY

    March 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  159. Joan Mocine

    The elephant in the room is the "defense" budget. Stop paying billions for jets, bombs, tanks, etc. and put that money into our schools, roads, zoos, etc. all over the country.

    We are already the most armed to the teeth country in the history of mankind, we don't need anymore. Put the folks who work making these monstrous machines into new jobs making public transport.

    Nobody EVER mentions this. Patrick Kennedy spoke out about it in the House of Reps. and was immediately vilified. The coverage he got was all about how he was shouted down and held an unpopular view

    March 12, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  160. Mike Brooks

    You wont publish this, but it *is* the problem - cut salaries and benefits to match the average of what private sector workers receive in their area. We already know that public employee pension funds are largely responsible for job outsourcing, undermine the overall economy by being gambled for "big returns", and, because they are taxpayer guaranteed, when they loose, we are on the hook for the lose! Likewise, their benefit and salary packages, their never ending supply of leaves days, holidays, etc. are things that would bankrupt any private business. Oh, and we could do with a lot few public sector workers, too.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  161. Alex

    There is a way for every single town in this country to save billions of dollars. It is as simple as enforcing the law, and deporting illegal aliens. It is time for we, the people, to end this circus once and for all. If they are outside of the law, then there is no law to stop us from fixing the problem.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  162. Matt B. Benton Harbor, MI

    Ways that my city could save money? That's the question on everybody mind here in this small town. Today in our local newspaper they want the city workers to start working a 4 day work week. Also our city finances are to be taking over by the state due to years of misuse and improper guidance of the finances. And our city leaders are trying to fight it!!!!!! Wait we need them to come take over. I think a way we can save money here is by getting rid of some of the city commissioners and mayor and starting over. We just got a new city manager three months ago after the one before him was mysteriously fired. Also this is like our 15th or 16th city manager in 12 years, so there is where we can save the money.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  163. Tom in Iowa

    School taxes are the largest portion of my property taxes and the school could save a fortune by not bussing fat, over weight kids just a couple of blocks to school. Since they have cut Physical Education making them walk will make up for that. There is nothing worse than a bus full of fat lazy kids riding a few blocks to school.

    Tom in Iowa

    March 12, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  164. Rick Perrucci

    Easy: No more fireworks, parades, trash pick up for free
    No more dog parks, kids parks.

    back to basics, we all had to do it, so should the local municipality.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  165. Mike Oklahoma City

    They could stop remodeling the capital building and raising money to build a new convention center and a new park. I think these things are nice but while doing this they are cutting out Meal programs for the elderly and dropping the amount they pay out on Medicaid. I

    March 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  166. Brian B Utica, NY

    How about we start cutting welfare. Or at least pass the bill that would drug test anyone who applies for welfare. I am all for helping those who need and deserve help. I am not for helping the helpless.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  167. Joe

    I can't count the ways Medford, OR could save money. One thing comes to mind right off- why do city employees need "fully loaded" SUV's and top of the line cars to drive 15 blocks to inspect a new sidewalk? What would be wrong with a basic no frills economy car? I really don't get it.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  168. Guy from Hawaii

    Secede from the State and the Country! However, that idea seems just too radical for even a newsman with some progressive thinking like yourself Jack. You wanna know what useless services our town is spending money on like dog catchers or 6 guys standing around a "men working" sign and only one is working. Or cops hiding in the bushes not ready to bust drug dealers but to pull people over for no seat belts, talking on cell phones or their safety inspection expired 2 days ago. Thousands have lost their jobs in this state but the minute state workers are asked to furlough they go nuts. So instead, they furlough teachers one day a week. You can't fix stupid and the system is "Stupid" at County, State and National levels. At least people can get a $5 foot long at Subway and use the other $5 to get a gallon of gas.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm |
  169. andrew sessa

    291 bills passed by the house(be they good or bad)were never brought up for vote in the senate...get rid of all of them and let the money saved flow to local townships and we vote on bills not them at voting sites......government the way it was intened to work" for the people by the people"

    March 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  170. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Mayor Goodman wants to fire every city employee, and then rehire all who would work for less. Of course, That suggestion caused the unions to erupt in flames amd went ballistic! Guess we'll see what happens next!...Stay tuned!!

    March 12, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  171. arnie

    Stop the city of Westlake Ohio from trimming trees on tree lawns. Despite the fact that the tree trimmers say they are removing limbs that inhibit truck traffic, it appears that most of the trimming is of trees over the sidewalks. The tree branches over the sidewalks add a desirable ambiance.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  172. Cary Brown

    Here in Virginia Beach our city council call us taxpayers over-draft protection. They don't listen to us. They want to build this light rail system to the Oceanfront for their business friends..and we are already in debt. They are acting like ort big government has been acting like for decades. I'm retired Navy, so I'm moving to Florida and telling my tenants to get the hell out. Hell with Virginia Beach.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  173. George

    Because California is a wine exporting state, the wine producers have a ton of lobbyists. Let's add a quarter tax to each bottle of alcohol or six pack and make the tax porportional to the size one buys. People will still drink and the state will make money.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  174. ZOE

    Legalize, control and tax pot. I can't begin to fathnom the amount of dollars lost in tax revenue.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  175. chad kenosha,WI

    I can tell you what my town could do. They could start using our prisoners and those on the Welfare roles to perform some manual labor type jobs like mowing city lawns or trash pickup. I see it as a win-win. In this fat overweight society looking to save on health costs, people will feel better about themselves both physically and mentaly as they contribute to society. However, more than likely it won't save money becuse they will likely have to give the city workers doing those jobs paid furlows. There is juust no common sense anymore Jack

    March 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  176. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Stop making future budget projections when there are no funds in the current budget. That's spending money that tax payers haven't earned and a waste of time and money of those responsible for fixing the budget.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  177. tom kauycheck

    like all city and states with budget problems the first thing that
    they do is cut services when they should start cuting the people that work for there city or states all goverment payroll are bloted and they
    have too many perks that people who work for the private sector
    dont get.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  178. paul, illinois

    Marijuana......allow it to be grown and sold legally, put a tax on it, I would gladly pay taxes on all that I sell, problem solved. It is everywhere anyway....I can go to ten different places right now and get it tax free.....that is lost revenue for the state all day long everyday in every city and town in this nation

    March 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  179. Frank PA

    End pensions for public workers/unions. Offer traditional retirements plans like the private sectors gets.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  180. Jay

    Cut unnecessary spending on local programs. Although this may not be the most popular choice, it certainly is the right one. It seems everyone is upset over reckless government spending, but when it comes to a program they participate in, they become infuriated. When it comes to popularity, the poltitiians are certainly in a catch 22, but they can still make the right decision.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  181. Joann Disher

    My town, county, and state, and all their boards, committees, councils, and departments can save money by taking it back out of the pockets of the good ole boys and putting it where it was intended to go.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  182. Charles Johnson

    I think our state and city political brain trusts, just like any other citizen these days, should be subject to pay and benefits concessions as well as being required to work part time to reduce the state and city budgets in these tough economic times.

    If you love your country, you should be willing to volunteer your services. Most of these political figures are wealthy business owners and managers or fat cat lawyers anyway, right?

    March 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  183. Jim Green, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Over 2000 years ago Cicero said “The common good is the highest law”–and this standard should be applied when ever we levy taxes—whether our how town or the federal government—so here is my suggestion: Take the money we spend on wars, and prisons, and unemployment insurance – and give everyone a job...and then we wouldn't need to spend our taxes on the former.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  184. russ

    Here's a new idea...why don't we take away the huge political salaries and perks

    March 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  185. vulfmann

    I would give the EPA a chill pill and get to the natural gas supplies here in Oregon. Build a new infrastructure around this energy supply.

    I would start using the vast lumber in our state that is now restricted by the majority in Multnomah county. This county is in the city and have no idea what they are doing. Drill baby drill; with in reason. Put our people tp work!

    March 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  186. raptor Bismarck, Arkansas

    Our city is pretty large in area, mostly rural acerages, some large farms, a dude ranch, but small, the main part of the town is about four square blocks. We have a gas station, a grocery store, two banks, an auto repair location, a closed antique shop, three resturants, three open antique shops, a dollar general, several churches, a new school, a insurance office, with a sheriffs office, a gunsmith, a lot of frendly people, and unincorporated. Small is cheaper.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  187. Charles in Virginia

    Hey Jack, our city and state payrolls could be cut if workers would agree to live within their means. I teach U.S. History at a Christian school where possibly I earn about two-thirds that of my public school colleagues. I have never missed a mortgage payment, paid a bill overdue, or given one penny of interest to a credit card company. I have two children at a private Christian college and two in a Christian high school. We try to be good stewards of our finances which maximizes our income, and we did not fall into the trap of trying to give our children what we didn't have growing up. Instead, we passed on to them the love and acceptance we knew and experienced as youngsters. We are thriving and joyful people who enjoy life like few others we have seen.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  188. Kevin Hancock

    I suggest that our City cut all entitlements to Government officals and employees, put all the public schools and any group subsidized by the government on merit wages! Put all the government accounting on a read-only real time online internet software program so that the tax payers can fire all the private auditing lawyers on the Cities payroll! Require that the Department of Corrections follow arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's example of how to run our jails.
    This is just for starters!

    March 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
  189. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    One big every state can do is to pick up all the illegals and send them back to wherever they're from. And limit how long anyone can collect welfare. In some places, welfare is a lifestyle, with generations collecting free money. It's supposed to be a hand up, not a handout for life!

    March 12, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  190. Thomson Tembo

    Tembo Batavia Illinois
    The city of Batavia and many other cities in the country should solve the problem and not run away from the problem. saving money by eliminating unecessary expenses is a good step. What about reducing property Taxes to affordable rate so as to attract investors invest in property. Also eliminate Park distric over funding and turn them into recreation places/facilities allowing people to pay as they use them, that way cities turn self enterprise.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  191. Al in Los Angeles

    Stop paying the mayor.

    March 12, 2010 at 8:52 pm |