Tag Archives: Chico franchise fees

Letter to the Editor – raising salaries without raising pension shares just raises the pension deficit

26 Apr

During the Measure H campaign the city of Chico made all kinds of promises to get the streets repaired. Did you ask them what they meant by that? According to the city website, this is what you can expect:

  • Crack Seals – Filling cracks in the roadway with hot sealant to protect the pavement from water, which can enter the cracks and further damage the road.
  • Slurry Seals – Protecting existing pavement with a mixture of fine crushed rock and liquid asphalt cement applied over the entire roadway surface.
  • Overlays – Repaving the top layer of the roadway.
  • Asphalt or Concrete Replacement – Completing small asphalt or concrete patch repairs.

These are all repairs. Bandaid patches. Reground asphalt poured over a broken surface – this was what they did to Vallombrosa a few years back, and it lasted less than a year. Have you taken a good look at the street in front of your house lately, cause the street in front of my house has broken pavement, loose from the base, with potholes that show dirt. That is beyond repair – most of our residential streets need to be scraped down to the base and completely resurfaced, as were that section of Pine/Mulberry/Cypress from 9th Street to East 20th. Of course, that was paid for with a grant, part of the effort to achieve compliance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. 30 years late, with money that had to be matched from city funds.

Yes, they promised to “fix” our streets with the garbage franchise fee (tax), and I believe the franchise fees (taxes) from PG&E and Comcast should be used to fix streets – or what’s the basis for collecting them? Oh yeah – a tits-out remodel of City Hall.

But right now the city is putting all our money into salary increases and the pension deficit. They just re-hired a former staffer to a similar management position, for $40,000 more, without asking him to pay a higher share toward his new, increased pension cost. What the fuck?!? So, you know me – I wrote a letter to the editor about it.

Redding is discussing salaries and benefits – Chico should pay close attention. Redding firefighters have been offered 26% raises, in exchange for raising their benefits share from 10 to 20%.

This is typical in the public sector – give them raises to cover their contribution. That is self-defeating. A few years ago, Chico management agreed to pay 3% more – with raises. Last year, council raised management salaries again. One former management employee was recently rehired to a similar position, with a $40,000 salary increase.

Raising salaries raises the pension deficit, and Chico employees’ tiny contributions are spit on the griddle. Right now, Chico’s total contribution is less than 50% of total cost, with employees offering only 9 – 15%. That’s why the State Auditor gave Chico a “future pension cost” rank of 33 out of 482 cities – with 1 being the worst. Instead of reining in the pension deficit, they’re giving it a full head.

Chico council and staff have demanded more from the public – garbage rate increase, unrestricted sales tax increase, doubled the sewer rate, now increasing builder fees and home prices. How about asking Chico employees to pay more out of their generous salaries? And here’s another suggestion – they need to pay a share toward the deficit they have created.

Instead, money is siphoned from every city fund, into the CalPERS Unfunded Liability Reserve Fund and the Pension Stabilization Trust. While they slap leftover asphalt on potholes, council has already authorized a $12.5 million payment to CalPERS for 2023.

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA