Is Orme’s bond proposal too risky? Let council know what you think before June 23 meeting

18 Jun

City council has scheduled ANOTHER CLOSED MEETING for June 23. I usually have an agenda sitting in my mailbox by this time (usually by Wednesday evening) so when it didn’t arrive I asked city clerk Debbie Presson if I should be expecting one. She said yes, but it’s held up right now because one of the ballot issues up for discussion is Alex Brown’s proposal for “ranked voting”.

That is the stupidest shit I ever heard – oh yeah, let’s make the voting process MORE CONVOLUTED Alex, just like your personal life. Presson already told Brown that the county clerk will not agree to this ridiculous format, and we’ll need to run our own election. But Brown seems to have selective hearing. She is one of the worst wasters of $taff time since Mary Flynn Goloff.

I’ll take time out here to express my gratitude to city clerk Debbie Presson and Asst City Clerk Dani Rogers for not throwing up their tablets and running for the parking lot. What they’ve had to do to insure public participation in these closed meetings is an abuse of their contracts. It doesn’t matter how much money you get when your boss is a 7-headed shit-for-brains.

The ballot issue I’ve been following, as you know, is the tax measure. Ory made changes to Orme’s proposal and you saw it – Orme got so mad I though he would stamp his foot and disappear. Let me rephrase that, “I hoped he would disappear.” No such luck.

Orme proposes using the tax proceeds to secure a general bond, meaning, a bond that can be spent for whatever council approves, using the proceeds of the tax to pay the debt service (interest and fees on these things can be as high as 50%) . Ory’s motion came as a shock to Orme, cause I think he’s pretty desperate for the full cent – even there, he’s not looking at a lot of money. The costs Constantin has predicted for fixing our roads go into the hundreds of millions. Orme’s projected $18 million/year is going to disappear, as I like to say, faster than spit on a griddle.

So, start writing those emails to council now, the meeting is next Tuesday. I sent the following to the newspaper. One other thing I could tell was really eating both Orme and the newly single Constantin was the biting disapproval they were getting from public comments. Sheesh, think we can make ’em cry?

At the June 9 Chico City Council meeting, city manager Mark Orme introduced a simple majority ballot measure for a permanent one cent sales tax increase.

Orme suggests the city use half the proceeds of the sales tax increase to  “incur bonded debt for capital “. Projecting an average return of $18,000,000/year, he says, “the City may safely use almost $9,000,000 for capital debt. ”

This is a risky proposition. For years now council has discussed retail “leakage” – other small towns getting their own retail sector, no longer dependent on Chico. And then there’s the growing trend toward online shopping. I started shopping online when Tom Lando proposed this tax in 2012, and I like it. What if sales tax revenues fall short of Orme’s projections?

Furthermore, sensing a lack of support among the voters, Karl Ory received majority approval for his half cent tax with sunset date. With half as much tax, will there be enough money for roads, public safety, AND bond service? Not to mention $130,000,000 in Unfunded Pension Liablity .

I would prefer to see staff get their house in order, start paying more toward their own generous benefits packages, instead of putting their hand out to the taxpayers. Orme, for example, only pays $24,000 a year toward a pension of over $140,000/year, with COLA. The rest is left to the taxpayers, the average living on less than a quarter of Orme’s salary. 

Email your council now, they will take this issue up again June 23.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

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