Foster Forty: Part Three and Part Four
ST. PETERSBURG -- With less than a week to the primary election, Bill Foster is still explaining all his ideas.
Here you go:
Installment Three - Budget reductions and cost savings
21. We will implement a service level budgeting process wherein every single city department budget will be reviewed and scrutinized, as will every program, line item, and non-departmental expenditure, and each item will need to be justified and prioritized, recognizing the public benefits versus costs.
22. Throughout the budget process, I will interact with the business community holding "Budget Summits", to gauge public sentiment, and to allow the community every opportunity to decide what is essential to them, and those things we can live without.
23. We will investigate areas where programs or services could be combined or consolidated with another department or Pinellas County government (economy of scales/avoid duplication), or provided by the public sector through competition.
24. We must optimize technology through expenditures of capital monies (i.e. Penny) to reduce labor and energy costs, and further review all future planned capital projects for impacts on the General Fund.
25. Through the Neighborhood Services Administration, I will write a job description for a Volunteer, Intern and Neighborhood Action Coordinator. This person will oversee placement of interns in all city departments, and will market and coordinate city volunteer opportunities to our residents and school system.
26. We will seek out corporate partners for our Parks and Recreation Centers.
27. We will make preventive health care a priority to reduce sick days and insurance costs (health screening, part time physician on staff for employee care, program incentives to encourage employees to lead a healthier life style).
28. We must get creative and offer more options in collective bargaining agreements and in employee negotiations (i.e. flexible work schedules and cafeteria plans in exchange for wage or pension concessions).
29. We must review all facility hours of operation for peek usage and program effectiveness.
30. I would like to create a volunteer support group for the Fire Service, made up of fire department retirees and trained concerned citizens with a goal to provide auxiliary service to the Fire Department thereby allowing uniformed Department members to be utilized to their greatest capacity without interfering with their task. Their tasks could include: providing fire safety education in the community; providing rehab, feeding, and logistical support at an incident; delivery of support vehicles, emergency scene lighting, equipment and supplies; barricade support.
Installment Four - Education; Miscellaneous
31. Annual Education Fair. At the beginning of each school year, we will hold a College & Vocational School Admission Seminar (Fair) at Coliseum. We will partner with Pinellas County Education Foundation, PCSB, PTEC, Job Corp, SPC and USFSP. On site will be presentations by universities, guidance counselors and admission advisors who will offer advice on ACT/SAT, scholarship clearinghouse, essay preparation, Bright Futures, Vocational opportunities, etc. Program could be taped by Brighthouse then carried on demand and on our city website.
32. Tutorial services. We will utilize recreation centers and libraries for tutorial programs for city residents (everything from English to Algebra to SAT preparation), staffed by city employees (payroll incentives) and volunteers (teachers, retirees, and high school students needing CAS hours).
33. We will expand the Mayor's Top Apple program to reward great teachers, not just great Principals, with incentives raised from the private sector.
34. To encourage reading and library use, we will waive the fee for resident identification cards if the child checks out 10 books from the public library and actually reads the book.
35. Internship programs. We will partner with PETC, Job Corp, Work Net, Youth Build, and cost out the development of internship programs for all City Departments.
36. School Resource Coaches. In cooperation with the PCSB, I would like to recruit and place "School Resource Coaches" for each high school in St. Petersburg, each one committed to volunteering three hours per week in the school to engage the students. They would be there at the opening of the school day, during the changing of classes, and can randomly sit at the back of a class during the class period. During class breaks and lunch, they can visit and mingle with the students. All participants would be recognizable community leaders, and will have to make a commitment and qualify as a volunteer with the school board.
37. I will continue to work on the private development of a Teen Magnet (a social destination for our youth).
38. We will look ahead to envision and create an extension of downtown called "The Edge" (Central Avenue from MLK to 16th Street). This vision includes a retail shopping district, cafes, entertainment, night life and art galleries.
39. I will arrange to have "Breakfast With the Mayor" each month at a local eatery, with the public invited. Locations will vary, and will be published on the city web site.
40. St. Petersburg will be a major hub for international baseball using Al Lang and local training facilities, with Al Lang being the spring training facility for an Asian Major League team (added to the spring MLB schedule), and with other months being occupied by teams from Canada and Europe. Tourism and marketing benefits abound.