The Portsmouth Citizens’ Alliance: Action Items for 2019 / 2020 and Beyond

Control City Spending / Limit Taxes and Fees

  • Make it Portsmouth’s goal that the city budget, property taxes and fees do not increase each year more than the rate of inflation.
  • Freeze immediately overall administrative spending while maintaining support for high quality education and public safety.
  • Enact annual zero-based budgeting: no automatic spending increases except those required by previously negotiated city contracts.

Portsmouth spends far more per resident than almost any town or city in New Hampshire (34% more than Dover, 79% more than Nashua, 85% more than Manchester, 161% more that Exeter, and 297% more than Bedford).

The best way to keep Portsmouth affordable is to limit taxes and fees, which means controlling spending first.

Promote Ethics, Accountability and Fairness

  • Insist on ethical practices, transparency and the consistent application of all regulations throughout city government. Conduct a city governmentwide review process to ensure that these objectives are met.
  • Clarify and simplify the reporting of the city budget so that a typical resident can understand how the city spends public funds and compare year to year.

Portsmouth city government often lacks transparency and city regulations seem to be applied inconsistently. Residents need to know that Portsmouth’s government is working for them.

Create a Vision for Portsmouth Based on the Input of its Residents

  • Maintain Portsmouth’s charm and historic character, the essential qualities of our city on which all of Portsmouth’s success ultimately rests.
  • Develop a vision for the future of Portsmouth through a genuine, fair and rigorous public survey and consultation process.

Too often our city government moves forward with momentous decisions without sufficient vision, long-term financial analysis or input from Portsmouth’s citizens.

How is it that our new and very expensive parking garage is mostly empty? Is high-density housing downtown really a good idea? Is the city experiencing too much growth? How is this growth affecting the cost of living and our quality of life?  Do we want to close off some downtown streets to automobile traffic to make them pedestrian ways?  Do we need more bike lanes and paths, and if so, where? Do we need a residents’ on-street parking program for downtown neighborhoods?

The answers to these questions, and others, are not necessarily easy or obvious. But in each case, rigorous analysis, thorough planning, and public buy-in should be required before moving forward.

The residents of Portsmouth spend too much time fighting their city government, when it is their city government that should be fighting for them.

It’s time for a change.

Join the Alliance, please sign up HERE 

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