USA political analyst reacts to budget cuts

With all the proposed changes in the Mobile city budget, there’s a wait and see approach being taken to see how the new cuts will affect city departments.

The decision by Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office will be to address the city’s 13 million dollar budget deficit through attrition and by keeping around 500 city jobs unfilled.

City officials say around $1 million in uncollected fees and cutting overtime will also help close the gap.

FOX 10 spoke to Dr. Sam Fisher, a political analyst with the University of South Alabama, to get his input on the budget presentation.

Dr. Fisher, who has spent more than 20 years in Mobile, said it’s an important first step.

He said in spite of the potential impact on city services, he remains optimistic.

“It’s a very conservative approach. It’s conservative in the approach that they’re trying not to promise too much,” said Fisher, “What they’re trying to do there is to avoid actually laying people off. If you cut over time and don’t fill positions as people retire, that’s money you don’t have to spend.”

Another key point in the decision was denying city employees a pay raise, which was promised in the last administration.

Dr. Fisher says leaving city jobs unfilled will have a direct impact on remaining city workers.

“I’m sure positions that are unfilled while the work is getting done are fairly stretched. The city should look at, at some point, refilling positions where there is a high demand,” Fisher said.

Fisher says due to the economy, there’s a reluctance to address the problem using tax increases.

Despite this, with Airbus and a number of other economic additions, Fisher says he believes the city will fix the budget.

“The issue now is, can the city still deliver the services to the city? Also, it makes you wonder how those will be affected by the constraints in the budget,” said Fisher.

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