Throughout the 3rd Congressional District race Mayor Steve Womack has touted his fiscally disciplined ways with the Roger’s city budget.
So it seemed fair to look at Rogers’ budget, available on line, and actually see if his words matched his actions. How has he handled the hard earned money of Rogers’ taxpayers?
Just a little bit of ciphering led me to believe that perhaps the Mayor embellished his record a tad.
For example, the Rogers’ Museum takes in about $6150 in revenue but operates on a budget of over $501,000? Salaries and benefits tally over $371,000 alone. In fact, museum employee’s salaries have increased over 75% since 2005.
If that were just one city budget I might overlook it. But there is more.
The recycling center, which I was sure would turn a small profit or perhaps operate more revenue neutral has projected sales of $150,000 for FY2010. However, the Recycling Center pays over $212,000 in salaries and benefits and has a total budget of $281,854 in FY2010 costing taxpayers $131,854.
Roger’s has an impressive Parks system which is projected to bring in $209,661 this year. Wow, that’s great. But hold on to your pocketbooks, the Park system pays out over $1.3 million dollars in salaries and benefits. The citizens of Rogers’ will spend $2.5 million dollars on their parks system in FY2010.
Surely, the program Mayor Womack would like to expand to other cities across the country, the Adult Wellness Center, at least breaks even. The AWC takes in an impressive $358,000. The gym pays out salaries and benefits of just over $335,000, but goes on to spend over $758,000. If memory serves me Roger’s Mayor promised that this program wouldn’t cost tax payers a dime because it would be paid with membership dues and run by volunteers. Maybe it will work differently on a national level because that is certainly not the case for taxpayers in the city of Rogers.
Mayor Womack boasted in a congressional debate that he has $19 million in taxpayer dollars held in reserves. Wouldn’t a true fiscal conservative set aside a reasonable amount in a rainy day fund and then think about how to return the excess taxes to tax payers?
And last but certainly not the least of worries is the hefty pay raise Rogers’ Mayor Womack has received during his tenure. It went from $43,216 when he took office to currently $115,003. It was reported by the Tolbert Report that a “normal inflationary increase during this time period would put it around $56,000.”
It seems Mayor Steve Womack’s budgeting principles are the same budgeting strategies fiscal conservatives are trying to alleviate in Washington D.C.