Shasta County opens Supervisor meetings – Chico council, still hiding under cover of COnVid, pushes Pension Obligation Bond forward

9 Jan

On Tuesday, as Chicoans got ready for another “virtual” (closed) city council meeting, two Shasta County Supervisors held an open meeting, allowing citizens to come into the chambers and speak freely about how they’ve suffered under the COnVID shut down.

https://www.actionnewsnow.com/content/news/Crowd-of-people-speak-inside-Shasta-County-Board-of-Supervisors-chambers-573536611.html

REDDING, Calif. – On Tuesday, a crowd of people gathered inside the Shasta County Board of Supervisors chambers. People passionately pleading to county leaders lift coronavirus restrictions and resume in-person meetings.

Inside the chambers, many people stood together, with only very few wearing masks.

The virtual meeting opened to the crowd that gathered outside, demanding to have their voices heard in person.

One by one each person spoke their three minutes.

Thank you Les Baugh and Pat Jones for doing the right thing, while the rest of the board cowered at their keyboards.

Supervisor Les Baugh and Jones were the only two to sit inside the chambers with the crowd. While Supervisors Rickert, Chimenti, Moty, and other county staff remained online.

Here in Chico, council and staff are trying to use the shut-down to shove as many tax measures through the system as they can, hand over fist. In addition to the Pension Obligation Bond already on the table, our new mayor Andrew Coolidge has proposed another bond, “for streets”, and a sales tax increase measure. 

The Pension Obligation Bond presentation, same as the presentation given in September 2020, elicited almost no discussion from council, who voted unanimously to give the consultant more money to set up the “validation process“. In September, the consultant told the Finance Committee one of the best things about a POB is that it “does not require validation...” He meant, by the voters. This bond, he explained, requires only “judicial validation“, a purely administrative process, with absolutely no input from the public.  

The consultant assured council, “they all get approved, it’s just a matter of time.” 

After the presentation, Coolidge asked Scott Dowell for a list of costs, and then Kasey Reynolds asked the consultant if there would be any “public informational meetings”. The consultant told her that is up to council, that they could do “small groups” if that was what council would like. And, I’m guessing, that would cost extra. 

It’s obvious Reynolds just wants to be able to say the public was informed about this bomb before it got dropped. What a bitch.

I was also shocked to see so few comments on Chico Engaged, but I noticed, all nine, including mine, were negative.  The clerk referred council to the comments without reading names. The clerk already quit reading the comments because they became abusive, and now she’s quit reading the names because nobody should have to read fakes names like “Harry Gonads.” Council spent less than a minute reading before they advised staff and the consultant to bring more information.  

Meanwhile, I wanted people to know how much money flows through this city, directly out of the pockets of city residents. You know you pay a gas tax, right? Got any idea how much of that the city of Chico  gets? Or what they use it for? Have you seen $5,997,251 going into the streets or roads near your house? How about the garbage tax, cleverly titled, “Waste Hauler Franchise Fee” – $1,980,318 added to our garbage bills. And if you get cable tv, you paid into a total of $969,124, received as of June 30, 2020. 

Here’s a double whammy – you not only pay a franchise on your PG&E bill, you pay “Utility Tax”. You also pay UT on your water bill, and if you have a landline you pay UT on that too. 

Of course, I assume everybody knows about property taxes and sales tax, but I’m probably wrong – a lot of people have their property taxes paid by their mortgage company, so they can sail through life without a care in the world?

Here’s the totals for those revenues, as of June 2020. Roughly $60 million in revenues, just from these sources. But our fair city never seems to have enough money to fix or maintain anything? I don’t think it’s a no-brainer that these funds should be available for street/road maintenance. The city used almost half a million in cable tv fees to remodel council chambers a couple of years back, with Andrew Coolidge telling me those funds “had to be used for that…they couldn’t be used for street maintenance…”

Gas Tax $5,997,251 
Waste Hauler franchise fees $1,980,313 
Cable tv franchise fees $969,124
PG&E franchise fees $787,861
utility tax $7,317,103
prop tax $18,621,070
sales tax  $24,434,686

During the same period, over $11,000,000 was paid to CalPERS through the Pensions Stabilization Trust and another fund called the “CalPERS Liability Reserve”. Both of these funds are filled by siphoning money out of all the other funds on a percentage of payroll. Most of the budgets of all these departments consists of salaries and monthly benefits payments, and many are in the red because of the further allocations for the UAL payments.

Scott Dowell reported our UAL has grown 43% over the last 5 years, but he didn’t say why. The reason is the unrealistically low employee contributions of 9 – 15%. In fact, management and public safety only started paying ANYTHING  in 2012, when the UAL  was already over $125,000,000.  When City Manager Mark Orme and other management agreed to pay an additional 3% share, council gave them a raise to cover that percentage. Furthermore, Orme got himself a 457 Plan – a special 401K for public management. We pay over $20,000 a year into that 457, while Orme brags again and again that he has not received a raise for almost 5 years. That’s bullshit, what a stinking liar.

All this shoved through under the guise of public health and safety. Are we just stupid, lame, weak? Before you condemn the rioters in DC, take a look at yourself, and then read the US Constitution again. 

And Best Wishes to Shasta County, I hope this is the beginning of the end. 

 

12 Responses to “Shasta County opens Supervisor meetings – Chico council, still hiding under cover of COnVid, pushes Pension Obligation Bond forward”

  1. Dave January 9, 2021 at 10:18 am #

    The current city council is employing gimmick financing because it refuses to reform the pensions (same as past councils). But that is because there is NO CHANCE anyone who is not a tool of the public employee unions can get elected.

    These people DON’T represent us. It makes no difference if the “conservatives” or the progressives have the majority. Few seem to understand that.

    The fact is past councils have made promises to public employee unions that are in no way sustainable. This council continues that tradition. And now they are going to try to kick the can down the road a few election cycles by burying us in more debt. AND a sales tax increase and another bond are up next after the POB!

    Here’s a must read article about POBs. The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) states that POBs involve considerable investment risk. Local jurisdictions across the country face increased financial stress because of POBs. And the article states, “The GFOA unequivocally states that local governments should not issue POBs.” THINK ABOUT THAT!

    https://www.dailybreeze.com/2020/01/26/bonds-are-a-risky-way-to-deal-with-pension-woes/

    • Juanita Sumner January 9, 2021 at 4:27 pm #

      Thanks Dave, I have not seen this piece by HJTA president Jon Coupal, but I’ve read article after article saying the same thing. I think council is desperate, and poorly advised by Staffers who have everything to gain. One of whom tried to contact me today by an alias, tried to convince me that I was spreading misinformation, etc. It’s going to be a shitstorm of propaganda, get your tennis racket ready.

  2. Scott Rushing January 9, 2021 at 11:23 am #

    A lot of good information Juanita. The new council is taking advantage of the COVID to lockout public comment and criticism. The meetings stop so the councilors can read email messages is comical. The council wants to push new taxes through not only to keep staff salaries and benefits high but to fund new CPD hirings. The CPD already gets 54% of the city annual income and new hires will increase that with salaries, benefits, medical, gun allowances, uniforms allowance, dubious new “training” programs, pensions contributions PLUS increased legal fees and insurance premiums paid to the Joint Powers Authority for numerous officer-involved killings in the city. I am shocked at the apathy of Chicoans. Scott Rushing

    On Sat, Jan 9, 2021 at 7:04 AM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: ” On Tuesday, as Chicoans got ready for another > “virtual” (closed) city council meeting, two Shasta County Supervisors held > an open meeting, allowing citizens to come into the chambers and speak > freely about how they’ve suffered under the COnVID shut down” >

    • Juanita Sumner January 9, 2021 at 4:31 pm #

      Thanks Scott. Furthermore, “public safety” comprises more than half our UAL, and over half of that is the cops.

      I agree, Chicoans need to wake up and smell the pig shit. (sorry, I grew up on a farm…)

  3. Dave January 9, 2021 at 3:53 pm #

    “I was also shocked to see so few comments on Chico Engaged…”

    People don’t understand bonds. Sometimes I think some people equate bonds to free money.

    Kasey Reynolds asked the consultant if there would be any “public informational meetings”. The consultant told her that is up to council, that they could do “small groups” if that was what council would like.

    Informational? I call BS. It will be a sales job, propaganda, not information. Remember, these hucksters stand to make big fees if this POB goes through!

    I hope they do have these meetings. They need to be called out by outraged taxpayers.

    And here’s something I will ask if I can attend: “If you undertake this gamble and it succeeds will that make the pensions sustainable?”

    If they are honest they will say no. And then I would ask, “Why would we undertake such a risk if it has no chance of making the pensions sustainable? The ONLY course of action should be pension reform, NOT gambling on a POB!”

    If I can’t attend or do but don’t get the chance to ask this someone please ask for me.

    • Juanita Sumner January 9, 2021 at 4:32 pm #

      Dave, I was just re-reading the post I made about you kicking Ann Willmann’s ass at her “informational” meetings. If they do have these “informational” meetings, I will personally drag you in there.

      • Dave January 9, 2021 at 9:25 pm #

        I imagine they will have it via Zoom or WebEx and probably pull that old trick of having it during business hours when everyone has to work. That way only the press will attend and the press around here never asks any hard questions and only regurgitates what the local bureaucrats and politicians want the public to hear. Just what the City Council and staff want to sell this steaming pile to the public.

        But I will make every effort to attend.

      • Juanita Sumner January 10, 2021 at 5:22 am #

        You know, I think we should (we?) demand it take place in council chambers, be recorded, and that they allow Engaged and email comments.

  4. Scott Rushing April 17, 2021 at 12:33 pm #

    Feckless leadership in* Chico city government enriches the city attorneys once again *at the expense of the helpless and ill-informed taxpayers.

    Subject: Chico PD has filed a rebuttal declaration

    Chico PD has filed a rebuttal[1] declaration (see attached) and, as I understand, Legal Services of Northern California has until Tuesday in which to respond. People that have been close to the issue, including of course those Without a Roof, would be well served to gather their observations and make that available to LSNC.

    [1] https://npr.brightspotcdn.com/09/8d/3682438d4979a5341181f1732f7d/lsnclawsuit.pdf

    All the best and then some,

    Bill (Guillermo) Mash

    • Juanita Sumner April 17, 2021 at 1:00 pm #

      Thank you for this information.

      I think the lawsuit against Chico PD is frivolous and unwarranted, and I hope the plaintiffs get reprimanded for bringing it forward.

      The cops were FINALLY doing their jobs, clearing trespassers from our public lands. This action was ordered by the city and screamed for by the public.

      This lawsuit is an example of a abuse of our courts.

  5. Scott Rushing May 4, 2021 at 10:27 am #

    Hi Juanita Calmatters is revealing what you know. Cal Pers is the fox guarding the henhouse. Gambling with the market is a huge risk for the taxpayer. Planning for 7% returns and the professionally managed, at huge fee, is producing 4% +/-. A recipe for failure. The Taxpayers will have to pick up the bill. I know you have been arguing for years and I hope you don’t stop speaking turht to power. I noticed Orme got to hire a deputy city manager and Debbie Presson got a nice raise and car allowance. Nice work if you can get it. Scott R.

    • Juanita Sumner May 4, 2021 at 12:23 pm #

      Thanks Scott, I appreciate your take on this, I know you are a professional and have a good solid business background. I use my housewife gut – I know if I ran my household the way they run the city of Chico my family would have walked out by now.

      Yeah, I like Debbie, but I think I’m going to start calling her “Spike Presson”

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