Action needed on Ashland budget

Tidings 5/30/2020

The coronavirus pandemic necessitates immediate revision of Ashland’s current budget because city tax revenues will be much reduced for some time. Likely, a number of our businesses will not survive the pandemic and fewer tourists will be patronizing our remaining theaters, inns, restaurants and shops.

Ashland’s current 2019/2021 budgeted expenses of $305 million are up 56% from the $196 million for 2013/2015 and would increase our debt from $29 million to $71 million during this two-year cycle alone. Our population remains flat. Expenses, excluding the Electrical Department, are $6,800 per capita. (Medford’s are 33% lower at $4,540 per capita). Major budget cuts, not counter-productive increased taxes, depleted reserves, or increased debt (which would impair funding of future essential services) are now urgently needed.

The council could set an overall target for annual expense reduction, perhaps $10 million to 15 million, to offset reduced revenues. Next, you could allocate firm reduction targets to each of the largest departments or those with the largest increases in recent years. Reduce head counts. Cut salaries to bring compensation into line with the private sector. Freeze other salaries. Shelve non-essential capital expenditure plans.

Sound fiscal management requires immediate action.

David J. Carey

Ashland

Ashland Needs Sound Fiscal Management

Ashland Needs Sound Fiscal Management