Baltimore Drops a Cool $585,000 …On Outside Consultants to Do Their Budget

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Head in Hands
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You know you have a problem when you spend over half a million dollars on outside consultants to redo your government budget that you already have plenty of bureaucrats to do. Put on your seat belt and read about what the city of Baltimore has decided to do with its budget…

Though the city’s finance department makes three-year projections, it lacked both the manpower and the skill set to make long-term actuarial projections and propose reforms, Kleine said. Many of the more than 100 proposed reforms will be detailed Wednesday when Rawlings-Blake releases the full report, officials said.

“We just didn’t have the staff or the expertise to do this,” Kleine said. “Our core function is to formulate the budget and monitor the budget.”

As for the cost, Public Financial Management Inc. of Philadelphia won the contract in 2011 with a proposal to charge the city $460,000, beating two other finalists whose work would have cost taxpayers $500,000 and $507,000, respectively.

But the scope of the needed work grew over the past year, Kleine said, and city officials added another $125,000 to the deal — meaning the consultants were paid $585,000 in all.

So, just to be clear, the people that make the budget didn’t have the manpower or skill set to make a budget that, for some reason or another, required actuarial projections? Well, as much as I don’t want to take my face out of the palm of my hands, that is now water under the bridge, so we must move on.

Don’t get me wrong, the decision is likely going to be a good one in the long run, and I’m glad they came to realize that, ya know, budgets are pretty important to keep balanced, but it just seems kind of odd that this is even a problem in the first place.

So what did half-a-million-dollar actuarial projections come up with? A new trash collection fee, a smaller city workforce, and cuts to employee benefits.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but that is not rocket science.

Regardless of how much money they spent on the actual rocket science itself, in the end, by making some cuts here and there and asking employees to contribute to their retirements a little more – like almost everyone in the private sector – the city of Baltimore will be able to use the savings to increase employee salaries and cut property taxes by up to 22 percent over the next decade.

Wait. Fiscal discipline in the short term will lead to savings in the long run? A government learned that their spending was unsustainable and realized cuts had to be made because they overextended themselves to the too-many government employees? Shocking…

[Sidenote - Anyone else finding it funny that their Democratic mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hired the private sector (the productive sector) rocket scientists to do their budget? That's an admission that the budgeteers of their government are not an efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Jus' sayin'...]

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