The cornerstone reason I filed for candidacy for Mayor of Flower Mound is the importance, and urgency, of ushering in a new culture of economic focus, structure, and diligence for the town.
I realize the election is not until May, but it’s more important to begin work on fixing issues now, rather than waiting for some future date. It’s important to get this dialogue going, especially when the town’s budgeting process is fast approaching.
Economic plans are quite extensive, so to avoid extreme detail and length, over the upcoming weeks, I’ll continue to release communication in pieces, so it can be a continually collaboration of goals and ideas. The more things we throw on a wall, the more things we can get to stick.
The first step is setting a strategic goal. While the current ‘Vision’ and ‘Strategic Planning’ items listed in the Annual Budget for the town are good first steps, one essential item is missing, which is adding economic benefit(s) to the current residents. I’m not speaking about making Flower Mound economically ‘vibrant’ or ‘dynamic’, but an economic benefit to each resident personally. Therefore, I believe we need to work towards a trend of lowering collective taxes being charged to the residents of Flower Mound. We need to implement policies and practices that combine maintaining, or increasing, revenue for the town, while at the same time decreasing overall expenses and debt. I believe we can make immediate improvements and set in motion long term plans that we can see dividends in the next two years. Now how do we do that and where do we start?
While this is a long and extensive process, I initially want to focus on the ‘low hanging fruit’, or items that can easily be adjusted, with impacts that can be seen and felt right away. One of these items is the compensation and benefits for town employees.
Currently the town offers a 3% step/merit increase included every year for its employees (with a minimum/floor compensation amount that is at least in the 65th percentile compared to benchmark cities). Employees also receive a full range of benefits (all of this can be found on the town’s website). While the compensation packages listed I’m fully in favor of, I believe we should also add the following:
1) Institute a bonus plan for town employees that is tied to their respective department, based upon cost savings achieved when actual expenses for the year are compared to the Annual Budget.
a. For example, if the budget for a department is $1.5 million, and the overall expense incurred for that year was $1.4 million, a bonus of say, 50% of the difference (or $50,000) gets split and paid out to the department’s employees. The remaining $50,000 of cost savings, or ‘profit’, gets absorbed by the town.
We could also add a second tier for the entire town’s budget as well.
b. For example, if the actual expense incurred for the entire town was less than the Annual Budget, a certain percentage of that cost savings would be split and paid out to the town’s employees. This way, even if their respective department spent more than budgeted, they can still be eligible if the town performed better than budgeted.
So, could you imagine 600+ employees working for Flower Mound all collectively focused on saving the town money? If everyone was focused on cutting costs and beating their budgets, the end result is employees have higher take home pay while the town saves money. It’s a win/win on both sides. Again, the percentages would need to be defined, but this concept is something that benefits all parties, and effectively doesn’t cost the town anything to implement. It’s like what the private sector has as a ‘profit sharing program’.
2) Implement a health incentive for all employees. This would be two part:
a. Set up an annual biometric screening/tests (paid fully by the town… usually less than $100/person)
i. This would be a screening to test for preventable items for all employees conducted once a year.
b. Create health club membership reimbursements based up activity usage.
i. Work with a local health/fitness clubs, or all of them that can keep records of signing in/attendance, and when employees go at least, say, 6-8 times a month, they are reimbursed for their membership, or with varying costs, some monthly fixed amount for all employees.
These two items (a & b) are key since health insurance costs continue to rise. Focusing on preventative items is an essential piece of being proactive to try and minimize or reduce health care costs now and in the future. Neither of these will be mandatory for any employee, but hopefully most, if not all, take advantage of these additional compensation features. Please feel free to research all the positives for employees, and then companies/towns, that have employee health screening plans incorporated to compensation packages (attendance, performance, retention, etc.) besides the fact it can save their lives. Also, this drives additional revenue to Flower Mound health/fitness clubs as well as the screening service.
These are two simple items that can be implemented that can have an immediate impact and more importantly, longer-term rewards, for both its employees and the town in reducing overall expenditures.
As previously mentioned, this is just the tip of the iceberg on items we can change and can implement. I will continue to add more items and discussion points for lowering costs, and then increasing revenue, as we continue down the road related to this.
As always, I look forward to hearing your comments on these, good or bad. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to hurt my feelings with any response. The goal is the more and more we can all give pros and cons on real topics; the more ideas and new concepts will emerge. The goal is to make this town operate in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, so the more viewpoints we can get the better. Again, you can always contact me through my website at www.billrobinsonformayor.com or email me at [email protected].
Flower Mound, TX