Wednesday, August 5, 2009

City Finally Admits Sister City Program Isn't Free

If the Department Of Economic Affairs is the pinnacle of needless government expansion, then the Sister City Program is the definition of misplaced priorities. The city is spending $5052 to teach 3 French students how to sail a 36 foot sailboat, part of the Sister City program with one of our sister cities in France.

The mayor visited France in the summer of 2007, when she went to Europe for 2 months, by boat, and learned about cognac and bicycles.

I have come to expect that money will be spent without regard to the economic circumstance of the city. I'm not surprised and I don't have much more to say about the arrogance and ignorance displayed by the administration. I don't care if it was "scheduled far in advance" or "part of a reciprocal program".

What I'm more interested in is that the city admits to spending money on the program. For a long time, the Mayor claimed that she and Aldermen traveled across the world on their own dime, which nobody believed. It was thought that the 'education and training' budget was tapped for the sister city program.

The article claimed that the trip was funded through the 'Sister City Program', but I could find no such program in the budget. What I did find in the budget was that the Mayor's personnel budget is up by 11%, and the Mayor's "other operating expenditures" were up 29% ($80,000)!!

You may also be interested to know that the Public Information budget is up 86%. The personnel budget for that office is more than $192,000....and there's only 1 full time employee.

Umm...are we being punked?!

1 comment:

Scott Bowling said...

When does it end?

$75,000 for a study on what would happen if the water level at City Dock rose in 100 years, $88,000 for a City Magazine that offers no value to Citizens, and now $5,000+ to bring teens from France to Annapolis as part of the Sister Cities program; which according to the City and the just passed budget, has NO funding. Yes, $5,000 is just a drop in the bucket when you consider it as part of an overall $86 Million budget, however, lets not forget that the City had to borrow $4.5 Million dollars via a bond issue just to balance the FY2010 budget and keep the lights on at City Hall. Not to mention the looming structural deficit that the next Mayor and Council will have to deal with.

It appears that cutting costs and reducing expenses is about as foreign to this Mayor and Council, as the English language may be to our visitors from France.