That’s $343,287.67 for the chamber remodel and it came from Comcast ratepayers

31 Jan

I  received the following response to my inquiry about the money for the city chambers remodel from city clerk Debbie Presson:

Hi Juanita,

 The technology upgrade project currently underway will cost $343,287.67 and is funded solely by PEG fees.  PEG (Public Education and Government) fees are paid by Comcast, our current cable provider, as required by their franchise agreement. The City is responsible for ensuring that the general public has access to the Public Access Channel (Channel 11) which is used for educational and local government programming, including City Council and Commission meetings.  The PEG fees are restricted funds and can only be used for equipment purchases, upgrades, or a capital project such as this current project.  Staff costs or department operational costs are strictly prohibited from being paid for by these fees.

Debbie Presson

Wow, she speaks as though it’s money from Heaven, FREE MONEY!

Double Wow, $343,287.67 – let me put that into perspective for you – a brand new three bedroom house on my street just went on the market for $360,000 this week. An entire, brand new house.

And just in case you aren’t seeing it, let me put a cup of coffee under your nose – Comcast isn’t paying for this, Comcast ratepayers are paying for this. 

Listen Pollyanna, you don’t think Comcast is a charity, do you? No, they pass the franchise fee on to the customers, just like Waste Management passes their city franchise fee on to the customers.  PG&E, Cal Water and any other utilities who want to operate here pay franchise fees too – excuse me – YOU pay it, in addition to the Utility Tax you see on your bill. They should have to spell that out on the bill, but who will demand that? Your legislators? Don’t wait up. 

I also wrote a note to the folks at Ch 7 news – they reported the chambers hadn’t been remodeled in over 40 years. I won’t say “lie”, but that’s misinformation – my husband put carpet in those chambers roughly 25 years ago, and they got new IT including a new big screen tv for the council to watch themselves during the meetings, only about 10 years ago.  I’m guessing the record would show, they’ve put thousands a year into gadgets for the chambers. 

But our local media is lazy and stupid and believes whatever  $taff tells them. 

16 Responses to “That’s $343,287.67 for the chamber remodel and it came from Comcast ratepayers”

  1. leonard costa January 31, 2018 at 6:33 am #

    no such thing as free lunch! too many still don’t understand that

    • Juanita Sumner January 31, 2018 at 10:46 am #

      Amen to that, thanks.

      Unfortunately they have been sticking us with the lunch tab and more for years, and most people seem to be willing to pick it up rather than fight.

  2. bob January 31, 2018 at 8:07 am #

    I was in the chamber a few years ago before all this “remodeling” and it looked fine to me. In fact they have better furniture, carpets, etc. than most people who live in Chico and that was before the remodel.

    They used yet another hidden tax increase to pay for it. People wonder why the price of everything is so high. Well, a big part of it is all the hidden taxes governments put on things, like Internet access.

    And I’m sure that’s the case for all this grant money the city keeps trying to get. Our local politicians and bureaucrats always try to make it sound like some one else is paying for it such as a company or some other government entity like the state or feds. But in the end, no matter what they tell us it is we who pay, one way or another. So when they say, “It’s a grant from PG&E” that may be true but YOU are paying for it.

    This is just another example of how dishonest our local politicians and bureaucrats and these quasi-government agencies like the Chamber of Commerce really are. They’ve devised a thousand ways to rip us off without us even knowing it.

    • Juanita Sumner January 31, 2018 at 10:50 am #

      “They’ve devised a thousand ways to rip us off without us even knowing it.”

      That’s what I thought when I read that e-mail from Presson. I recently e-mailed a finance department staffer about a line item I saw in the budget – it looked like they were collecting utility tax on internet usage, so I asked her – she just said NO. I guess I should have asked, “any sort of tax or fee”.

      • bob January 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm #

        Why should Comcast act as the middle man to take money from the taxpayers so the bureaucrats can do remodelling? That’s ridiculous.

        Why would the politicians and bureaucrats do that? Simple, they want to be as opaque as possible when taxing people. People don’t even know they are being taxed so they blame Comcast for having high prices. The politicians get to take people’s money and Comcast takes the blame!

        Pretty sweet deal for the politicians, isn’t it?

        I remember many years ago when all the council members got those expensive, fancy iPads. I bet politicians stuck Comcast so they could stick us for those, too!

      • Juanita Sumner January 31, 2018 at 1:41 pm #

        Sheesh, I’m so glad you remember stuff like the ipads, they get new ones often. I always wonder how much the general public knows about this stuff – we need to get back to writing letters to the local media.

        About stuff like the franchise fees – yes, it’s a way to hide taxes, and these utility companies pass all the expense – including the salaries of the staffers who do the figuring – on to the ratepayers.

        I wonder how many people even notice the Utility Tax that’s added to their PG&E and Cal Water bills, or that most Chicoans are eligible for a full rebate.

  3. Jim January 31, 2018 at 10:54 am #

    The money was supposed to go for technology, not carpet and seats. What a rip off.

    • Juanita Sumner January 31, 2018 at 10:57 am #

      Thanks for pointing that out – Presson’s e-mail was a minefield of rationalization.

      • Jim February 1, 2018 at 3:51 pm #

        You know darn well that a good part of that money was syphoned off for “management expenses” aka their pension.

      • Juanita Sumner February 1, 2018 at 4:59 pm #

        I agree

      • bob February 1, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

        Speaking of pensions, look what’s going on in Illnoise…er…sorry…Illinois. If you don’t think there won’t be a lot more ill noise in California then you haven’t been paying attentions.

        Talk to the people of Illinois about America’s looming public-pension crisis, and they’ll tell you it’s not looming — it’s already here. This month, a statute went into effect giving Comptroller Susana Mendoza the right to make up for any town or county’s delinquent pension payments by seizing its share of sales, excise, and other taxes collected by the state. The result is that municipalities across Illinois have been scrambling to either cut services or raise taxes.

        Mattoon officials have announced that ambulance services will be scuttled to pay pension bills a half-million dollars higher than last year’s, while Springfield’s budget director, Bill McCarthy, says he will have to “reduce other services just to meet pension obligations.” Normal will handle the problem through property-tax increases, while Danville has imposed a separate “public safety pension fee,” which will cost residents up to $267 annually. East St. Louis, which depends almost exclusively on its share of tax money from state’s Local Government Distributive Fund, could soon see its entire budget confiscated to satisfy pension obligations.

        Read more at:

      • bob February 1, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

        What’s going on in Illnoise indicates the politicians and bureaucrats will definitely put funding pensions before everything and anyone else…even if it means people die because there is no ambulance service.

        They plan to bleed us white with tax increases then throw us under the bus…or ambulance as the case may be.

      • bob February 1, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

        And you are going to see much more of this from these rapscallions…

        Fearful of voter reaction to the growing pension squeeze on public services, some officials have tried to hide the problem, pretending to raise the money for other purposes. In late 2016, for example, San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) subway system sought voter approval to bond $3.5 billion in infrastructure improvements even though, as the East Bay Times later reported, the needed upgrade was already covered by an ongoing capital fund. More recently, departing New Jersey governor Christie Christie (R.) and General Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D.) agreed to address the state’s retirement deficit by making the lottery an asset of the pension fund — while ignoring that the loss of gaming revenue will create an equivalent shortfall in the state’s operating budget.

      • Juanita Sumner February 1, 2018 at 7:33 pm #

        Thanks Bob


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