Chico Council plays Sophie’s Choice with city services in mailed survey; meanwhile, “CalPERS Unfunded Liability Reserve Fund” takes 10% of the UAL from every city fund

22 Apr

I’m thrilled to see some pushback against the city of Chico’s sales tax measure. For example, yesterday and today there were letters from names I haven’t seen in the letters section before, both calling the mailed “survey” into question. I’ve seen similar remarks, some of them very angry, on various social media sites, including

There has also been a city employee named Jeremy Lazarus, who has been trolling my posts and trying to deny that the city of Chico’s biggest debt is the pensions. He’s told me I don’t understand, and I should “get a clue”. Ironically, Transparent California reports that when Lazarus was hired by the city of Chico in 2019, he already had a personal pension debt of $24,305.22, created by his abysmally low employee contributions in Glenn County. The little trough skipper.

Hey, you think Lazarus and other city employees have been told to troll the social media sites to spread the hype? While I have no evidence of that locally, I can relate that my son, when employed by a West Coast city for a short internship, was told to engage people regarding any negative information he heard about his employer, and set them straight. So I know it happens, and I won’t be surprised when I find out City of Chico employees are told same about the tax measure.

One letter writer brought up a point that also troubled me – the survey lists services that are all important, that every city needs to supply, or why be in the business of being a city? They tell us to rank these services – that’s bullshit folks, they are trying to Sophie’s Choice our asses. In the 1979 novel, later made into a very popular movie with Meryl Streep, Sophie is told she must choose between her two small children, one or the other, and that the one she doesn’t choose will be summarily executed.

The city’s survey says we must choose between essential services – “Public Safety, Addressing Homelessness*, Road Maintenance, Parks, Conservation*, and Economic Vibrancy*”. This isn’t really a choice, it’s a threat to cut one or all of these services if we don’t pony up a sales tax increase. (* These ridiculously specious terms deserve their own blog post)

Here’s what they left out – I just opened the city’s 2021-22 budget, here:

I did a routine F-search with words like “pension stabilization trust”, or just “pension”, and here’s something new I found – “CALPERS UNFUNDED LIABILITY RSV FUND” – that’s Fund 903, page 115. That is separate from the “PENSION STABILIZATION TRUST FUND”, Fund 904, page 116. I knew about the PST, and so should you, cause I’ve mentioned it here about 365 times. But wow, another fund I haven’t heard of, with a 2021-22 balance of over $11.6 million. These bastards are finding new nutshells to hide their peas under every time I turn around!

Revenue sources for this fund include transfers from the General Fund. The description for this fund – “Fund to account for annual payments of CalPERS Unfunded Liability.” Apparently, they use this fund to provide revenues for the “Pension Stabilization Fund,” out of which they make the payments to CalPERS. See what I mean about nutshells?

And how is it funded? “Each department will set aside a set percentage of payroll costs to fund the annual payment of the CalPERS unfunded liability. A target reserve of 10 percent of the annual unfunded liability expenditure will be retained in the fund.

There it is – they’ve been TAKING 10 percent of the liability – now over $150 million – siphoned from existing funds – the road fund, the park fund, the sewer fund, etc. That’s why the street in front of your house looks like something from Downtown Kyiv right now, and the city is talking about taxing you based on the volume of water you get from Cal Water.

I guess I should thank Jeremy Lazarus for challenging me to prove this. He’s been calling me out, telling me to “get a clue.” Well, thanks, you Idiot, I got it, I got it good.

6 Responses to “Chico Council plays Sophie’s Choice with city services in mailed survey; meanwhile, “CalPERS Unfunded Liability Reserve Fund” takes 10% of the UAL from every city fund”

  1. Frank April 22, 2022 at 3:05 pm # Looks like the council is try to negotiate a back room deal to sell the wastewater system to cal water.

    • Juanita Sumner April 24, 2022 at 12:27 pm #

      Well, I been wondering what was up – this presentation was scheduled for a meeting a month ago, but it was cancelled. And they didn’t have the packet, so I wasn’t sure what they were talking about.

      This is not good. I believe cities should provide services like water and sewer, even garbage, to keep costs low for consumers. But both the public and private sector see these commodities as a gold mine of profit.

      The good news is it will have to go before the voters. Get ready (ha ha) for the shit to hit the fan. (sorry just had to do it)

      • Becca Cerveri May 8, 2022 at 1:15 pm #

        And like I’ve stated recently, I’ve owned my home for 15 years and I’m STILL sitting on a delapitated septic tank. Been annexed, pay taxes but don’t get the services. I’m sitting in a two block section with lines plumbed all around me but city says I have to do footwork to poll neighbors. Why? It’s as if I’m asking for something new or out of reach. Why am I polling my neighbors about whether they are interested (don’t have to commit) in hooking up, submitting that to the city and wait for a response that he said “wouldn’t happen anytime soon as there are many “pressing issues” ahead of sewer hook up.” I don’t care how many pressing issues have been moved up past finishing what we started with nitrate reduction, I’m tired of sinking money into my tank. Talk about literally throwing money down the crapper! Come on Chico. I’ve paid the hook up fee in repairs and I’m sure the cost of hookup increases every year. What happens when they shut Neil Rd sewage dump down? How will I survive on a tank I can’t get pumped and dumped? It already costs more to dump at neil rd than it does to hire and pay labor to the pumpers? Maybe I can transform my pool into my own personal sewage dump. Sorry neighbors, I’ll do my best to keep the smell down!

      • Juanita Sumner May 9, 2022 at 5:56 am #

        They don’t have the money because they siphon money from the sewer fund and all the other funds to pay their pension deficit. I’m having a conversation now with a city works employee who says I’m a liar, but I’ve got my information from HR and Finance staff, it’s true, the pensions come first.

  2. Frank April 24, 2022 at 4:37 pm #

    Power also PG&E sucks

    • Juanita Sumner April 25, 2022 at 5:38 am #

      Well, what really sucks is the California Public Utilities Commission and the process by which these utility companies are allowed to raise rates at will. If you’ve ever attended one of their rate hearings, you know what I mean. What I’m concerned about with this sale of the sewer is that the city has to go to the voters to raise the rates, utility companies just take their case to the CPUC and it’s a slam-dunk.

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