Clerk admitted members of the public were not able to sign into today’s Finance Committee meeting, but it went on anyway

26 Jan

On Saturday (1/22) I posted the letter I wrote to the Enterprise Record. Wolcott ran it Monday. I have complained here many times about trying to participate in closed committee meetings via Zoom, and I’ve made city staff and council members aware that I was not able to sign in or even watch meetings. I’ve also complained here and asked staff many times to make recordings of the meetings available to the public – they simply respond that they are not required to do so. They are required by law to post meeting minutes, but do so at their own speed. As of Christmas they were 6 months behind, so I complained about that. The clerk came back from Christmas vacation and posted the missing minutes in less than two days, without any explanation as to why those minutes weren’t posted within two days after the meetings.

My district rep Kasey Reynolds told me that the meetings would remain closed for the duration of Newsom’s mask mandate, February 15. Instead of holding important business – including various tax increases – until the public could be included, they scheduled an 8am Finance Committee meeting for today. Frankly, I’ve given up on trying to sign in. I have work to do, I can’t sit around all morning being held out of public meetings by the forehead. I was surprised to receive a notice from the clerk’s office about a half hour into the meeting.

We are having difficulties with Zoom this morning.  Please try the link again.

I received this message while I was at the grocery store. My grocery store does not enforce the mask mandate. Neither does the home improvement store at which I purchased a new washing machine this morning. I think that’s ironic – businesses I patronize are not supporting the mandate, why is the city of Chico still holding citizens out of meetings?

Today the agenda included discussion of a sewer tax. The city wants to tax the public according to how much water they use, water we not only already pay for, but water on which we pay a 5% Utility Users Tax.

And then there’s this scheme – read carefully, they’re basically issuing bonds on your toilet, another attempt at taxation without public approval:

For Option 1, The utility issues bonds secured by net revenues of the utility to pay the “sales” price. The General Fund receives an upfront cash payment from the utility. Alternatively, the City can do “seller financing”, where the City’s General Fund owns a note payable by the utility over time for the purchase price of the sale. In either the scenario, the utility is generating income for the General Fund, over and above what can normally be done under Proposition 218.
If the “sales” price is paid entirely upfront, and if the publicly offered bonds used to finance the
sale were sold on a tax exempt basis, then the proceeds of the sale/bond issue must be used by the City for public improvements. If the “sales” price is paid over time through “seller” financing, then the annual payments can be used by the City for any lawful purpose.

Read it again. They want to sell the sewer plant to themselves, and then issue bonds to pay themselves back? They put the money in the General Fund, and then it can be used for anything, and that’s going to be the pensions.

Read more here:

https://chico.ca.us/sites/main/files/file-attachments/1.26.22_fc_agenda_packet.pdf?1642784160

Mayor Andrew Coolidge and council member Sean Morgan are on the committee, Morgan is the chair. These guys are already under recall. Let them know how you feel about them planning to raise our taxes in meetings they have closed to the public.

andrew.coolidge@chicoca.gov

sean.morgan@chicoca.gov

4 Responses to “Clerk admitted members of the public were not able to sign into today’s Finance Committee meeting, but it went on anyway”

  1. bob January 26, 2022 at 4:32 pm #

    Well, it’s a good thing you are covering this because the ER sure isn’t. And I am unaware of any other local media covering this. And what about the Chico First people? I would think they would be interested as City Hall is putting itself first and the people of Chico last.

    They want to sell the sewer plant to themselves, and then issue bonds to pay themselves back?

    This sounds similar to the lease the streets scheme. Was that part of the POB that got shot down by HJTA’s threat of legal action?

    • Juanita Sumner January 27, 2022 at 5:18 am #

      Thanks Bob, I couldn’t believe it myself. Yes there’s a variety of schemes, including the volume tax on sewage – yeah, they wanted to measure our poop, and charge us for it, including the installation of the poop measuring device. Instead they decided they could charge according to the amount of water we get from Cal Water, assuming it all goes down the sewer, when a lot of it goes on our lawns. It’s outrageously obvious they are desperate for money to pay down their pensions.

  2. Scott Rushing January 26, 2022 at 4:39 pm #

    Hi Juanita: Coolidge and Morgan, O’Brien, Reynolds, and their police union buddies want to use any extra $ they can squeeze out of Chicoans for additional cops, ( no accountability or transparency to prove to the taxpayers that these new hires have the character and desire to be “peace officers” and not those anxious to see “action”). Arguably, police officers are the most costly government employees and you know the pensions are unsustainable. Do these politicians care? Of course not, they just want police union support and to be as tough on crime….damn the facts. Best- Scott

    On Wed, Jan 26, 2022 at 3:22 PM Chico Taxpayers Association wrote:

    > Juanita Sumner posted: ” On Saturday (1/22) I posted the letter I wrote to > the Enterprise Record. Wolcott ran it Monday. I have complained here many > times about trying to participate in closed committee meetings via Zoom, > and I’ve made city staff and council members aware that I” >

    • Juanita Sumner January 27, 2022 at 5:20 am #

      You’re right, the salaries and benefits are unsustainable. I’d like to see more cops, I’d like to see them walking and riding bikes and interacting with people instead of cruising around behind tinted windows in cars that cost as much as some people make in a year.

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