Oh No! The city of Chico faces fiscal insolvency? Time for an INTERVENTION!

17 May

Stand back and hold your breath while I enjoy a chorus of “I told you so!” 

I looked over the agenda for next week’s council meeting, and omigod! It’s an intervention!

Sheesh, what does it take to get through to people? I’ve been saying for years – me, a local property tax payer – that the city was spending out of control, that they were taking us on the road to Perdition – but did anybody listen? I wanted to cut up their RDA credit card long before Jerry Brown took it away, but did they listen? No, they just went about making these contracts that promised a perpetual six-figure salary, well beyond retirement, all paid for by the taxpayers, paying those crazy salaries and benefits and pensions out of the RDA. 

New city finance director Chris Constantin is all up there about the overspending, but he doesn’t say on what. He’s going to allow people to go on damning The Spirit Flags and The Hands. But that’s chump change. In reality, it’s Constantin’s contract, along with the other management contracts, as well as the public safety contracts. These people get the highest salaries, but pay little to nothing for their pensions – 70 – 90 percent of their highest year’s salary available at age 50. 

Management employees – and the department heads just got nearly $30,000 each in pay raises –  pay less than half their employee share, four percent of their total premium. The police and fire department employees pay nothing. The taxpayers pick up the balance of their shares – this is called, “employer paid member contribution.”  

On Tuesday’s agenda, “$taff” recommends renewal of the management contracts, the public safety contracts having been approved already, with the empc intact. 

And at the same meeting Constantin will foist his report – “City of Chico Up Shit Creek Without a Paddle.” He says we are in deep trouble, can’t make our payroll, and need to borrow money. And, here’s the catch – they’re going to have to raise fees and cut services. 

I will agree that they have been giving away the store. Developer fees have been out of whack for some years. For example, I just sat in on a conversation with a property owner who was hooking up to sewer – a very average  case – $24,000. But, a developer pays less than $10,000. 

But, I’m sick of hearing about more cuts in service. We spend over 90 percent of our budget on salaries and benefits. We pay more than 100 people more than $100,000 a year.  In 2012 we spent $1.9 million dollars paying “the employee’s share” of pension premiums. We just gave these guys a $30,000 each raise to tell us we don’t have enough money to pay our frigging bills. 

I predict we the people will be paying more for everything almost immediately. Right now, for example, the city and the county are in talks with the two big garbage haulers about dividing the county and city up into franchise zones, each company taking an equal guaranteed territory. Customers will lose choice. The city will get a franchise fee from each company. That fee will be added to our bills. That sounds like price fixing to me, but I’m no lawyer. 

We may have defeated Measure J, but the city will get our money by hook or by crook.

When I made predictions of bankruptcy on my old Ad Hoc blog, a current city council member came around to snipe about my use of the word, “malfeasance.” He laughed at my predictions. Well, now he’s sitting in a pants full, and he can just clean himself up as far as I’m concerned.

2 Responses to “Oh No! The city of Chico faces fiscal insolvency? Time for an INTERVENTION!”

  1. Rose Kelley May 17, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

    • Juanita Sumner May 19, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      I’ll go ahead and post this attempted comment – I imagine there were technical difficulties, maybe Rose Kelley would like to try again.

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