Optimising municipal expenditure

Dear Editor,

Cities all around the globe are introducing wide-ranging measures to optimise municipal expenditure in the face of the current economic challenges worldwide.

Some of these measures include a freeze on hiring new staff, stricter controls on overtime, curbs on various expenses, and a cut in spending on all municipal-organized events. The City of Ottawa, the capital of Canada, cut 75 managerial and 102 unionized staff positions late last year, to save money. The city of Hamilton took the step of cutting 23 management and other jobs so as not to raise property rates.

The Plymouth City Council in the UK has made up to 200 people redundant, and has cut about £15 million from the capital programme as it seeks to balance its budget. A further 100 council posts left vacant since last year will also be axed.

In Tallahassee, about 47 city positions will be eliminated from next year’s budget, to make up for a $4.5 million funding gap. And the list goes on and on.

But in our ‘Garden City’, Georgetown, the story is quite the opposite. In the face of bankruptcy, heavy debts, and the delivery of very poor services, our City Council has decided to vastly increase its expenditure by hiring more garbage contractors to add to the others to whom they owe millions of dollars; by hiring many, many more persons to senior positions; by travelling frequently overseas, and by upgrading small sections to bid departments.

This has to be some new and bizarre economic concept that would upturn all of the theories and concepts taught in economics, and one which central Government seems willing to allow.

One just has to enter any municipal office at any time of the work day and one would see scores of employees just idling.


Shanta Singh