Garbage franchise deal just another ploy to get more money for salaries, benefits, PENSION TIME BOMB

23 May

Our city is a small mirror to the state. I was reading about Jerry Brown’s gas tax proposal and I read stuff I’ve heard in Chico meetings over the years.   The city and the state both collect fees related to vehicles based on rhetoric about road repair but actually don’t spend the money on our roads.

“‘California has plenty of money to fix our roads,’ says state Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), arguing that no increase would be necessary if the state would stop siphoning off revenue earmarked for road maintenance and repair.

Allen points out that about $1 billion a year of transportation revenue is diverted to the general fund. Almost all of that comes from “weight fees” imposed on heavier vehicles, money that is supposed to cover the damage they do to roadways.

Brown’s transportation package raises the state’s gas excise tax from 18 cents to 30 cents a gallon, and diesel excise taxes from 16 to 36 cents a gallon. A special sales tax on diesel would jump from 1.75 percent to 5.75 percent. Car registration fees would increase by at least $25 and as much as $175, depending on the value of a vehicle.

Where is the money going?”

At least 30 percent will be diverted toward programs to get Californians out of their cars, like the Active Transportation Program. (How effective is the program? Since it was created in 2013, the number of Californians commuting by bike increased from 1 percent to just 1.1 percent.)

“These kinds of expenditures make the governor’s rhetoric about road repair ring ‘hollow,’ Allen argues. ‘Fully 30 percent of funds will not be spent on roads.’ And there’s no guarantee that still more of the transportation money won’t be diverted into the general fund.”

The city of Chico gets gas tax revenues from the state, but it’s diverted into the General Fund. In fact, former city finance manager Jennifer Hennessy admitted it goes to salaries and benefits for people who have little or nothing to do with fixing our streets.

The city is getting ready to launch a new garbage franchise deal. They say they need money to fix the roads, and why not make the garbage companies pay, since they do so much damage with their big trucks. Oh sure – read that again – “Allen points out that about $1 billion a year of transportation revenue is diverted to the general fund. Almost all of that comes from “weight fees” imposed on heavier vehicles, money that is supposed to cover the damage they do to roadways.”

And out of the General Fund they can take money to pay anything.

Transparent California gathered data on full-time, year-round employees for 2014, and Chico paid better benefits than any of the 30 cities surveyed.

The contribution rate for non-public safety, or miscellaneous employees, in Chico was 28 percent, while that rate for police and fire department employees was 33 percent…”

The employees pay 9 – 12 percent of their contribution, the city pays the remaining 19 – 21 percent. The rest constitutes our “pension deficit”.   CalPERS wants 50 percent contribution out of public employers, whether they pay it themselves or get it out of the employees. New hires will pay that 50 percent – like the firefighters the city just laid off.  But existing – or “classic” – employees continue to pay their trifling contribution, sending the city of Chico and other entities like CARD scrambling to find new revenues to pay.

Like the garbage franchise deal. 

4 Responses to “Garbage franchise deal just another ploy to get more money for salaries, benefits, PENSION TIME BOMB”

  1. janine May 24, 2017 at 4:28 am #

    The sad irony is that cyclists must travel most of the same roads, and poor roads are detrimental to safe cycling. A pothole that is an annoyance to cars might cause a serious accident for a cyclist. Poor road quality discourages bicycle commuters and keeps people from using their bikes for more than recreation.

    • Juanita Sumner May 24, 2017 at 4:40 am #

      Thank you for saying, Janine. I make most if not all of my local trips on a bike, and I know what you’re talking about.

      A gal I know was riding her bike in Bidwell Park, hit a pothole in the road, and was thrown over her handlebars. Her jaw was broken and had to be wired. Her face looked like somebody put a cigar out on it. She missed so many classes she had to bail out of school for a semester.

      Pedestrians are at risk too. A friend of mine participated in a run in the park. As she rounded a turn she found a man laying in the road – he’d tripped in a pothole and broke his arm/shoulder. She dropped out of the race right there to help him.

      I encountered an elderly couple in the park one morning as I was repairing my bike – I’d hit a pothole so hard my basket had flipped off. The woman showed me an ugly abrasion on the side of her leg – she’d stumbled on a loose piece of asphalt and fallen into a large pothole while crossing Woodland one morning.

      Chico is bicycle and pedestrian unfriendly. And non-compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act – the city seems hostile towards people with mobility issues, including older Chicoans who’ve paid taxes here for many years. They’ve stolen the money they should have used to repair our streets for their pensions.

  2. Jim May 26, 2017 at 6:36 am #

    I don’t have a big problem with mandating one trash service to a particular part of town. That will reduce the number of garbage trucks driving around. What I’m pissed about is the TAX! We should make three demands: 1) No franchise fee, 2) Lower rates for seniors and low income homeowners, 3) Keep the rates down for everybody. The efficiency should lower costs, not increase them.

    • Juanita Sumner May 26, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

      Yeah, the city is obviously using trash service to suck money out of SOME citizens. Of course, service is not mandatory, so they are not required to offer low-income subsidies, and the rates are allowed to go up incrementally every year. Those who do get service will pay higher rates because not every body is required to get it, but of course, ratepayers would pay the subsidy if every body was required to get it – lose, lose, lose – for every body but city employees.

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