Fiscal Restraint

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If Harvey is elected, he pledges to exercise fiscal restraint in the management of City projects, facilities, and resources.

Half Moon Bay is in the midst of a recovery from an economic downturn and some poor program and policy decisions which brought it to the edge of financial ruin. Although it is now on an upturn, the City still requires a firm hand on the financial tiller, and attention to the details of management and spending.

For instance, we have now embarked on the largest construction project in Half Moon Bay history--the building of the new library--with costs to be shared equally between giant San Mateo County and tiny Half Moon Bay. At the time the City Council voted to approve the project, the City's share of project costs was estimated to be about $12 million, a sum which came within $2.4 million of equalling the entire revenue stream anticipated by the City for the 2015-16 budget year.

At the time she voted to approve the library project, Council member Debbie Ruddock emphatically warned that she would hold the line against cost overruns and change orders, known to steadily increase the costs of projects such as this.

Harvey Rarback shares Council member Ruddock's determination, and will join her in resisting "budget creep" on the new library project.

In other budgetary matters, Harvey has been outspoken before the Council in advocating for better conduct of the City's contracting efforts. By insisting on hard-nosed negotation on bids and contracts, and by improving staff's approach to procurement matters, Harvey estimates that we could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in procurement costs.

Harvey will seek to establish a new position on City staff: a full-time Procurement Director, who can improve the content of bid and contract specifications, encourage more competition among offerors, and conduct tougher negotiations on befalf of the City, which will save the taxpayers money.

Harvey also believes that a promising area for saving money and improving the responsiveness of City government to the citizenry is an investigation and realignment of the vast sums that Half Moon Bay currently spends on "outside consultants" in many areas of City operations.

One area in which this over-reliance on private consultants has been particularly expensive to, and less than optimally effective for, the City has been that of planning. Harvey believes that we need full-time planning staff, who are seriously committed to shaping the city in the ways preferred by its residents. He also believes that we can save a lot of money by cutting back on consultant salaries, overhead, and fees, while at the same time receiving better service.

In his time before the City Council, Harvey has watched hundreds of budget items come before that body. As a Council member, he will provide diligent oversight of the City budget, and seek to achieve lower costs and increased efficiency.

Harvey proposes to make use of task force groups composed of local residents with financial training and experience to review the City's spending plans.