Monday, July 7, 2008

Better Than Budget Slashing?

As the town budget drama continues, here’s a bit of alternate universe for you:

Our financial woes are not unique. Municipal and state budgets are feeling the pinch across the country. But, unlike closer to home, some communities are taking a more proactive approach to smart fiscal policy. Some actions benefit the government entity, others help out employees, still, some knock two birds with one stone.

The State of Utah is the latest to entertain the four-day workweek in an attempt to cut back on operating expenses. Read about other communities here.

Determined not to let high energy prices take the wind out of the sails of running a town, some communities are actively investing in alternative energies. Rock Port, MO, has more than enough energy to power everything in town and then some. In our neck of the woods, the recent passing of the Municipal Renewable Energy fund (no endorsement implied by link) should have Tiverton and Little Compton vying to be first in line for significant project funding come January 2009.

And who says your police department needs to be tied to the gas pump? In case you missed this one, the Providence Police Department recently entered into a partnership with Middletown’s own Vectrix for four fully electric scooters (tough to call them scooters, they go 0-50 mph in 6.8 seconds). Granted this solution works better in urban areas, but for general patrolling, it would still work out in the country.

What does all this mean? Gone are the days of easy fixes when it comes to budgets. Savvy communities are getting creating when it comes to making ends meet. They doing away with knee-jerk reactions and embracing innovative, proactive solutions. There’s no reason we couldn’t be doing the same.

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