It’s St Paddy’s, let’s spread some enlightenment – write those letters, emails, yak it up – council is putting a simple tax measure on the ballot, and the proceeds can be spent any way Mark Orme decides to spend them. And that will be, on the pensions.

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all ye faithful. Like St. Patrick, you might try a little enlightenment!

Start with the truth about the city’s proposed sales tax measure. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about this measure, but if I were to pick the most important non-truth being forwarded, purposefully, by the proponents, here it is: Mark Orme is trying to make people believe that the revenues generated by this new tax will go toward infrastructure and public safety. He spreads this willful misinformation, knowing fully well that council is planning to pursue a simple measure, requiring only 51% of the vote to pass, and that means there are no restrictions on the spending, and none can be made.

I’m not going to sit here while a guy who makes over $200,000/year to mismanage our town uses his position of respect in the community to spread a bunch of lies. So here’s my letter about that.

The city of Chico suffers from poor leadership and mismanagement. While city manager Mark Orme boasts that Chico is in  “the best financial shape it has been in recent years…”, taxpayers experience deteriorating infrastructure and increasing lack of services. Mayor Andrew Coolidge responds to our concerns as petty complaints, telling us to “roll up your sleeves and get to work…” What does that mean?

Orme and Coolidge propose a one-cent sales tax increase. Orme says, “It’s an opportunity for the public to make a determination of what they want their future to look like…”

Let me guess what the future will look like if we pass this tax. The city’s biggest debt at present is the over $150 million Unfunded Accrued Liability, or pension deficit, to CalPERS. While deferring maintenance and services, Staff makes increasing payments toward the UAL, millions a year.

According to NSPR News, “Orme made indications during Thursday’s address that investments in police and fire departments, road maintenance, homelessness solutions and small business support would be made.”

But Orme can’t make any promises, since council and staff have made it clear they will put a simple majority measure on the ballot, and the revenues will be deposited in the General Fund, with no restrictions on spending. The voters, if they pass this measure, will have absolutely no determination how the money is spent.

If the past is any indication of the future, we’ll watch the price of everything go up, while infrastructure and services continue to deteriorate.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

4 Responses to “It’s St Paddy’s, let’s spread some enlightenment – write those letters, emails, yak it up – council is putting a simple tax measure on the ballot, and the proceeds can be spent any way Mark Orme decides to spend them. And that will be, on the pensions.”

  1. bob March 19, 2022 at 1:03 pm #

    It it goes through, this sales tax increase will hurt people even more with this crazy inflation. People have to pay tax based on inflated prices and our City Council wants to increase that tax. They are disconnected from the realities we face.

    • Juanita Sumner March 20, 2022 at 7:24 am #

      I think the best way to connect them with what we are going through is to email them regularly, be firm but polite.

  2. Scott Rushing March 20, 2022 at 11:09 am #

    https://chico.ca.us/sites/main/files/file-attachments/proposed_policy_709_-_military_equipment_and_inventory.pdf?1646702442

    Hi Juanita
    Chico PD and their supporters on the city council are proposing numerous expenditures to weaponize, rather than humanize, the department. This is arguably a dangerous boondoggle to be achieved at long-term taxpayer expense. The legal notification protocol being used by CPD and the council “higher-ups” may not be proper legal notice… but I could be wrong.

    • Juanita Sumner March 20, 2022 at 6:13 pm #

      I agree Scott, I very much disapprove of the expenditures I saw on that agenda.

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