Write Early and Write Often

20 Mar

The early bird gets the worm. A local newspaper owner and editor I know told me, “Write early and write often.” He’s right – start before the ER announces their election cut-off, build your argument slowly and consistently, and then summarize in your last letter. 

I’ve been watching the agendas and reports for various meetings, available here:

http://www.chico.ca.us/government/minutes_agendas.asp

This is something you can do if you want to be more involved – read the reports.  You’ll see stuff that makes you want to write a letter to the editor. I did – I read the report for the now-cancelled March 17 city council meeting, and I thought other taxpayers needed to hear about it. 

Chico City staff recently reported $3,050,000 in “unanticipated revenues” in this year’s budget, “$2,550,000 in additional sales tax revenue, $400,000 additional property tax in lieu of vehicle license fees and $100,000 additional short-term rental transient occupancy tax.”

Staff claimed Camp Fire evacuees had heavy impacts on Chico streets, now we see, they were also making a significant financial contribution. Why isn’t this money being put in the street fund?

Citing city budget policy, staff claims “unanticipated revenues”  are “dedicated to long-term liabilities and replenishing reserve and internal service funds to established targets. ”  How could they have not anticipated these revenues, having acknowledged other effects of the sudden population influx? And since the city has admitted to deferring street maintenance for years because of a shortage of funds, shouldn’t they replenish the street fund?

Staff instead suggests uses for these funds that are not covered by the above policy:  $1,405,000 to guarantee airline service,  $350,000 toward the city’s Community Choice Aggregation scheme, $100,000 to remove the BMX track from the fairgrounds to accommodate homeless services, $30,000 for questionable district maps, $250,000 for a “remodel” of Fire Station 1, and $515,000 for the “Homeless Solutions Project”. 

Putting $400,000 toward the long-term pension liability may fit policy, but I find it questionable – staff already transfers millions a year into that fund from other funds that remain in the red.

This appropriation shows how capriciously staff and council spend our money in their own interest, on their own agenda.   Is this an agency you want to trust with a sales tax increase?

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Responses to “Write Early and Write Often”

  1. Scott Rushing March 20, 2020 at 11:00 pm #

    *”Staff claimed Camp Fire evacuees had heavy impacts on Chico streets, now we see, they were also making a significant financial contribution. Why isn’t this money being put in the street fund?”*

    *”Chico City staff recently reported $3,050,000 in “unanticipated revenues” in this year’s budget, “$2,550,000 in additional sales tax revenue, $400,000 additional property tax in lieu of vehicle license fees and $100,000 additional short-term rental transient occupancy tax.”*

    *Orme and his team concentrated on the costs, not the income, from the additional residents that came to Chico as a result of the Camp Fire. Remember also that the property values have increased. The city benefits from the higher assessed values. The additional “unexpected income” plus the consistent increase in income from property taxes exposes the hypocrisy of your city manager. There is money for services and infrastructure but the desire to use it for salaries and benefits is too strong.*

    On Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 5:23 PM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: “The early bird gets the worm. A local newspaper > owner and editor I know told me, “Write early and write often.” He’s right > – start before the ER announces their election cut-off, build your argument > slowly and consistently, and then summarize in your last” >

    • Juanita Sumner March 21, 2020 at 6:19 am #

      And Orme continues to hold the evacuees up as a main cause of our current problems – this guy needs to go.

      • bob March 21, 2020 at 8:10 am #

        So does Constantin and Dowell. We need a new city council, too.

      • Juanita Sumner March 21, 2020 at 12:56 pm #

        I agree.

      • Scott Rushing March 21, 2020 at 9:39 am #

        That should be obvious to the council and concerned citizens of Chico. Time for new ideas and new management that will be committed to transparency with the taxpayers’ money.

      • Juanita Sumner March 21, 2020 at 12:57 pm #

        Unfortunately you are not available! We have to find people willing to do this job with integrity. It’s hard work, it’s a lot easier to float along and do whatever $taff tells them.

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