[ PRINT ]

Volunteers Wanted for TAB “Shovel-Ready” Projects


As more volunteers come forward to work on TAB Research, and we have begun considering paid studies, the time has come for a “to do” list of projects that are “shovel ready”. The objective of these projects is to increase our understanding of the trends in county spending and taxation, and to bring to light areas of excess, or unsustainable trends that bode ill for the future.

Many of these projects can be undertaken purely from publicly available materials, others may require staff contact and/or public records requests. All will be useful as we make our case for a rollback of county spending to pre-boom levels.

If you would like to volunteer for any of these projects, or have more projects to add to the list, add a comment to the post or mail us at info@pbctab.org

If you decide to participate, you will not be working alone. The TAB team can provide the tools, technology, contacts, analysis techniques, and moral support. Join us today!

Project List


GB:General Budget
SS: School System
SO: PBSO
FR: Fire/Rescue
CS: Core Services
GS: Govt. Structure
CD: Capital/Debt

Project Title Tasks
GB1: Pension Cost Projection Prepare a spreadsheet of the county pension costs by year since 2003, then project it 10 years into the future. List all the categories of pensions by type of position or bargaining unit, projecting them individually
GB2: Health Insurance Projection Prepare a spreadsheet of the county employee health care costs by year since 2003, then project it 10 years into the future. List all the categories of plans by type of position or bargaining unit, projecting them individually
GB3: Peer County Comparisons For the 5 largest Florida Counties (Palm Beach, Broward, Dade, Hillsborough, Orange), show the percentage budget growth (spending and ad-valorem taxes) for the years 2003-2011. In years that Palm Beach has exceeded the growth of the peer counties, examine which components grew the most (eg. PBSO, county staff, etc.)
GB4: Payers and Payees Build a list of the municipalities and unincorporated areas of the county and for each, estimate their county tax burden (based on valuation). Based on population of each, determine per-capita tax burden. If possible, estimate “tax dollars returned” to those communities.
GB5: Allocation of ARRA Funds Of the more than $500M in inter-govermental transfer funds, much in the last 2 years came from federal ARRA money. Track down where the money was spent and estimate whether it provided a general benefit to the county or was spent on special interests.
SS1: School Budget Trends Develop a budget trend chart (spending and ad-valorem taxes) for the school system for the years 2003-2011, in a format for comparison with other county spending.
SS2: School System Salary Skew Using a salary chart for all school system employees, analyze compensation for teachers versus administrators. Show growth in salaries for both groups from 2003-2011, as well as the number of teachers versus administrators.
SO1: PBSO Salary Skew Using a salary chart for all PBSO employees, analyze compensation for sworn deputies versus civilian employees. Show growth in salaries for both groups from 2003-2011, as well as the number of each.
SO2: PBSO Spending History Using information gleaned from pending open records requests, adjust the TAB PBSO trend data to reflect the population of the service areas by year, new jurisdictions added, and special mandates (eg. Homeland Security requirements). Build a chart of spending per capita (in the service area) and spending per call.
FR1: Fire Rescue Salary Skew Using a salary chart for all Fire/Rescue employees, analyze compensation for union represented firefighters vesus other employees. Show growth in salaries for both groups from 2003-2011, as well as the number of each.
GS1: State Mandates Build a list of Florida statutes that are impediments to substantive budget reduction in the county. Determine how much of the county budget growth can be attributed to state or federal mandates, and develop legislative proposals that could be used to restore local control.
CD1: Surplus Holdings Develop a list of surplus buildings, land, and equipment (eg. Mecca Farms). Investigate the carrying costs and develop proposals for divesting assets to save money over the long term.
CS1: Appropriation Constituencies Break down the county departments into “general benefit” (eg. parks, law enforcement) and “special benefit” (eg. Community Revitalization, Charity). Determine the size of the constituency of “special benefit” spending and examine the justification for that spending.
CS2: Program List Build a list of all county programs and separate them into those that are clearly the function of government, those that are clearly not, and those in a gray area. Build a case to terminate the second category and create a plan to evaluate those in the gray area.

Comments

One Response to “Volunteers Wanted for TAB “Shovel-Ready” Projects”
  1. John says:

    Thought you all might find this interesting: http://www.laissez-fairerepublic.com/TenPlanks.html

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!