* Cutting the beautification budget. Fewer flowers. Mayor John W.D. Bowling said that the Italian cousins, the Bergamos, who are opening a cabinet door factory here told him they were impressed by the flowers in the city. Commissioner Terry Crowley agreed that the plantings are one of the reasons people are attracted to Danville. Commissioner Kevin Caudill asked if some of the local businesses could donate some flowers. Bowling suggested, as a symbolic gesture, that all the commissioners spend a day planting.
* Eliminate the bird eradication program, which costs $20,000. Nuisance starlings and grackles pose a health hazard, and also disturb residents with constant chatter. Crowley said that the USDA told the city it would take several years. Blenniss said that there wasn't much of a dent in the population after baiting, but that the city could continue to soap the birds and shoot cannons to scare them.
At the end of this year, the city, even with a freeze on hiring and non-essential spending, will have spent $200,000 more than it collects in taxes and fees.
$1 million shortfall projected for 2006
Staff projects that in 2006 the city will have a $1 million shortfall that could grow to $1.7 million by 2009.
The proposed garbage fee would be an average of $12 a month. The fee would be put on water bills and paid by all city residents.
Crowley said different sizes of trash bins should be offered to houses because a single person wouldn't need as big a container as a family, and the cost would go down with the size of the containers. The same would be true of recycling containers. Residents who throw away less and recycle more would have a lower monthly fee. "It would be more fair," Crowley said.
Bowling said if more money is collected from residents, he wants to be able to tell them how the city will spend that money.
The idea of combining the city and county building inspectors wasn't popular with commissioners, but they did discuss raising the fee from 7 cents per square foot to 10 cents. The city department is run with a $13,000 deficit, but the increase in fees would raise another $10,000.
Commissioner Terry Crowley said he is not sure how well it would work to have Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning supervise the building inspector.
Other ways to raise money suggested
Other ways to raise money that have been suggested are a 4 percent increase in the property tax, a 0.5 or 0.25 percent increase in the occupational license fee and a stormwater utility fee to pay for new federal Clean Water Act regulations.
The city spends $120,000 a year now on stormwater programs, such as cleaning ditches. The city will have to spend twice that much next year to comply with the regulations, and $344,000 in the coming years to set up a stormwater utility, much like the water or sewer utilities.
Commissioners also will consider not paying for employees' dental insurance and having the employees pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums.
Commissioner Jamey Gay said that he would like the city also to look at economic development as a way to raise funds.