City another $700,000 in the hole? wow – that’s about exactly what they appropriated for the new management salaries!

16 Sep

I just get insulted when the newspaper tries to cover for the government, the way the ER has been covering for our city council and $taff lately. I hate to be a reactionary, but I’m human, I react.

This morning, as if it’s a SURPRISE!, we hear that the city is $700,000 farther in the hole than Chris Constantin has recently reported.   Where could it have gone! Stolen by those Measure J opponents? No, that was the $900,000 they bitched about six months ago, this is apparently a new missing amount.

Well, I don’t have my calculator handy, but I’d say, it’s just about exactly the amount that Nakamura has appropriated – and that’s the appropriate word here – to pay the salary increases he gave to himself and his department heads when he “reorganized” the city. 

I feel reorganized – don’t you? I mean, my pockets are EMPTY! That was one hell of a reorganization – some political philosophizers  would call it, a redistribution of wealth. See, Nakamura redistributed money from certain funds into the General Fund, and then he used that money to pay the new salaries. That’s what we call a Lando.

Excuse me if I don’t understand why they are so surprised when those funds they pilfered have come up short. Duh, silly me! I’m not playing the game.  You’ve heard of the Emperor Has No Clothes game, where you pretend a naked man is suited up in the finest outfit you have ever seen. Well, in this game, we pretend we have a lot of money, when we really don’t. If you are the first one to shriek, “STOP SPENDING MONEY, WE DON’T HAVE ANY!” you are OUT! 

Chico City Council to hear fund deficit is significantly higher than anticipated

By ASHLEY GEBB-Staff Writer

POSTED:   Enterprise Record 09/16/2013 12:07:56 AM PDT

 
Click photo to enlarge

Sean MorganAll Chico E-R photos are available
 

CHICO — The Chico City Council will hear Tuesday that the capital projects fund deficit has unexpectedly grown by $700,000.Finance staff previously estimated that Fund 400 would have a negative balance of $2.5 million at the end of this fiscal year. Instead it’s now estimated to carry a $3.2 million deficit.

To prevent additional deficit, the fund’s current structural imbalance must be corrected.

Councilor Sean Morgan said he was angry upon first hearing the news.

“It’s like, how do we continue to find that we are further and further in the hole?” Morgan said. “My next question is, how does this happen?”

Fund 400 pays for major programs, buildings and facilities, and major equipment, and also operates as a holding fund for project administrative costs, according to the city staff report. Direct and indirect costs accumulate in the fund and are later allocated to the source by which they are funded.

The fund’s negative balance began in fiscal year 2011-12 and has been partially attributed to elimination of redevelopment agency-funded projects, and the number of projects that can fund overhead costs.

Over the years, as project funding shrank, indirect costs remained the same, causing $3.2 million in indirect costs to accumulate.

As staff developed the 2013-14 budget, $25 million in unexpended projects remained for the prior fiscal year. Because those projects were not completed and indirect costs were not reduced, the fund’s deficit grew, the staff report states.

“The good news is this should be the last surprise,” Morgan said. “The bad news is the budget we just passed in June — there is $700,000 not accounted for.”

Councilor Randall Stone said he too was frustrated by the news, but it wasn’t surprising. Councilors and staff have understood for a while that numerous funds have problems.

“We knew that given the nature of what has gone on for the last 10 years, the potential for something like this was very high,” he said.

The impacts still will be devastating, Stone said.

Anticipated revenue and savings benefits from elsewhere will not be able to compensate, making deeper cuts necessary.

And small areas the city has worked to preserve, such as the $20,000 to $28,000 it costs to keep Caper Acres open, will come under closer scrutiny.

“All of these little things that didn’t seem like much to many people were tremendous in being able to achieve our goals,” he said. “That gets eviscerated with an $800,000 debt.”

Whether concessions or more layoffs, there is no easy fix, Morgan said.

“I am only one council member but I will scream from the rooftops that we cannot afford to cut public safety any more for any reason. It’s going to have to come from somewhere else,” he said.

Challenges ahead are substantial, Stone said.

“You feel like that kid with his finger in the dike and seeing major cracks and holes developing,” he said. “We are not securing it. The hole just got much larger.”

Fund 400 remains the city’s second-largest deficit fund, after the private development fund, which itself is $9.4 million in the red. Combined with the airport and capital grants funds, they add up to more than $14 million in deficits.

Also Tuesday, the City Council will be asked to authorize recruitment for a vacant senior maintenance worker position, and hiring for the new economic development manager and a city engineer positions. Funding has been budgeted for all three.

The agenda also includes consideration and approval of work plans for the Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board, the Arts Commission, the Airport Commission, the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, and the Planning Commission.

PUBLIC MEETING

Chico City Council

6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Council Chambers

421 Main St.

3 Responses to “City another $700,000 in the hole? wow – that’s about exactly what they appropriated for the new management salaries!”

  1. Juanita Sumner September 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Thanks! that is one of my favorite stories!

  2. Mary September 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Emperors’ New Clothes | Truth Matters, Chico! - September 16, 2013

    […] (If you want to check out the other blog I mentioned in the intro, here’s the link: https://chicotaxpayers.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/city-another-700000-in-the-hole-wow-thats-about-exact&#8230😉 […]

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