Tag Archives: Mark Orme Chico Ca

You heard it in the Enterprise Record: “Chico Government Can’t Be Trusted with Tax Increase”

22 Jul

I wrote a letter to the paper in response to Stephanie Taber’s suggestion of raising sales tax to support salaries and benefits Downtown, it ran yesterday, now it’s gone! You have to know it was there and search it! How LOW will they GO?

That’s how Dave Little treats people he doesn’t agree with, he just squelches their letters.  He’s a very “Little” man, his testicles have to be put in the microwave every morning.

So, I ain’t proud – here’s the link:

http://www.chicoer.com/opinion/20170720/letter-chico-government-cant-be-trusted-with-tax-increase

And here’s the letter:

A letter writer has suggested a sales tax increase to “fix a couple of major roads a year”.   

Chico has reached financial crisis because of employee overcompensation.  In 2013,  third-party auditors found a $15 million deficit. Council cut workers and services, while raising management compensation to unprecedented levels. By October of 2016 we were one of six cities in California being investigated for fraud, having exhausted our emergency fund and outspent revenues for six years.. We are still on the state’s “watch list”.  

To avoid further audit, staff cooked up an “aggressive” repayment plan, purporting to raise employees’ share of compensation costs. But the increased shares came with salary increases that more than covered the new CalPERS shares.  According to publicpay.gov, the city now has a $180 million deficit and will soon be paying more than a million a year to beat it down. 

According to California Policy Center, “As Chico recovers, new development projects have been downsized to reflect the city’s long-term financial reality.”   Staff has spent all the money on management pensions and benefits, there’s no money left for road base, asphalt, or  qualified workers needed to fix the roads. 

Proponents of a tax increase measure say the money will be dedicated to the roads – don’t believe it. Staff has instituted a “fund allocation” policy – they move money from one fund to another like peas under walnut shells. 

Juanita Sumner, Chico CA

 

It’s sad to me that we have such poor media here, Dick Little and Melissa Dogtree are just government shills. We have a council that plays lackey to the staffers who are ripping us off because all but one member of our council either get public  pensions or are married to one. 

Lou Binninger: The Pension Heist

14 Jul

Here’s a must-read:

http://territorialdispatch.biz/component/edocman/?task=document.viewdoc&id=337&Itemid=0

Cities  going broke paying down pension debt, CalPERS investments based on bribery, a scandal that led to the suicide of one CalPERS official. 

The city of Chico agrees to contracts with public employees stipulating all employees must pay union dues whether or not they want to be in the union. The city also agrees to collective bargaining. The unions are the biggest donors in every local election.  These problems could be solved with city ordinances. 

Think about it.

City manager Mark Orme, Assistant City Manager Chris Constantin behind the chatter for a sales tax increase

23 Jun

I’ve been trying to engage our city “leaders” regarding the trash tax –  according to City Manager Mark Orme, “the Muni Code Ordinance (which is on Tuesday’s [June 20] Council meeting) is going forward for final reading.  This allows for the City to entertain the Franchise Agreements (Ordinances) which will come back on August 1st – originally they were anticipated to return in July, but due to the Council’s, yours, and other members of the public’s feedback/input we are negotiating further to ensure clarity and that the best deal is had, under the circumstances.  Therefore, the action for Tuesday will lead to further discussion and approval or disapproval of the new franchises in August.”

I have a lot of problems with this “franchise agreement”, the main problem being that it is a tax in disguise. We all know the city is standing in front of a pension shitstorm with a tennis racket – their tennis racket appears to be a quarter cent sales tax increase.  At the May 16 city council meeting – at about 1:14:44 – local government shill Stephanie Taber got up to the podium and told council we need to raise taxes. Here’s the link – 

http://chico-ca.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=673

I was not surprised,  but since Taber used to be a regular attendee of the old Chico Taxpayers Association meetings, I had to ask her what the hell she was thinking.

“Wow, what a tiger you are! Raise Taxes! 

I got a better idea Steph – why don’t you just get out YOUR own checkbook, donate all the money you want to the salaries and benefits, and leave the rest of us out of it.

Thank you! Juanita”

She replied, 

“First off, let me say that I would, along with other Chico residence have to “open my checkbook” and pay whether the city did this as a sales tax or GO bonds that would affect property taxes..either way I’d have to pay too.

The city would only raise 4 to 4.5 million per year if they increased the sales tax by a quarter cent.  Many of the city streets now utterly failing (there is a list in the 17/18 budget and discussed at Finance) would cost at least that much to now totally dig up and replace because of lack of maintenance during the Schwab years.  That is when millions of gas tax money was diverted to maintain S&B for city employees and to keep her in office along with Holcomb, Gruendl, Walker, Nickel, Flynn and that whole regressive crew.

The sales and/or GO Bonds that I think we must look at would be only used for infrastructure.  The funds coming in would be ear marked and put into a separate account that could be verified and restricted.  We’ve seen this new administration’s (Chris Constantin in particular) ability and willingness to do that and as long as we have fellow concerned citizens willing to spend a bit of time following the income and expenditures in a particular account I don’t see a problem.  Problems arise when administrations lie and hide as our state government is doing with the gas tax increase that the voters had no opportunity to weigh in on.

I’m a bit surprised that this is seen as a “Republican” /”Democrat” issue … there is no ideology involved in this.. it is simply a recommendation that we raise revenue (tax or GO Bonds) for a specific problem, infrastructure, that would benefit the entire city.   Today we are currently short 14 to 16 million and that figure will only go up if we sit and do nothing..to me that is not an option.”

Signed, “st

She always blames everything on the liberals, even now that the conservatives have been in power for almost two years. She also seems to forget all those meetings we sat at over the years, watching money transferred out of whatever restricted fund and into the General Fund. She even mentions the gas tax, which went entirely to salaries and benefits through “allocation” – a process Chris Constantin formalized as the rule of law almost as soon as he got hired here.  It’s now policy to keep funds balanced through transfers, any time a fund is low it’s city policy to take money from other funds to balance it, restrictions my ass.   At least before we saw when funds went into the red, now they just cover up with “allocations”. There’s a budget “appropriation” – that means “taking” – in almost every fucking agenda.

“Today we are currently short 14 to 16 million and that figure will only go up if we sit and do nothing…”

Who the Hell is “we”? I think the word we’re looking for here is “them,” or how about, “embezzlers…

I will say, she’s got a point – “Problems arise when administrations lie and hide as our state government is doing with the gas tax increase that the voters had no opportunity to weigh in on…” you mean, like the garbage tax Steph?

But there you see the puppet master – “The funds coming in would be ear marked and put into a separate account that could be verified and restricted.  We’ve seen this new administration’s (Chris Constantin in particular) ability and willingness to do that…”

I’ve known this woman for some years now, I’ve watched  her face light up every time Chris Constantin or Mark Orme paid her special attention. One day Mark Orme just put his arms around here after a meeting and gave her a big squeeze. These guys have her in their back pocket. It’s their work she’s at now. 

I heard it from a little shill…

Told ya so, told ya so, told ya so!

3 Jun

Wow, look! The Enterprise Record is acting like a newspaper! Now, that’s news!

http://www.chicoer.com/general-news/20170602/increasing-retirement-plan-rates-will-constrict-chico-city-funds

Next Tuesday night, council will offer clerk Debbie Presson a 2 percent raise, to $142,000/year, to get her to pay 3 percent of her pension.

City mangler Mark Orme just cut himself a similar deal.

It’s just a ball ‘o confusion! You sure can’t hide!

 

Maybe now we’ll get more bounce to the ounce?

 

This is getting pretty funky!

Orme should have to hire his own assistant and pay for it out of his own salary

18 Jun

Mark Orme says he has been working without an administrative assistant and wants to hire one. 

He can’t seem to afford a babysitter either – in all the years I’ve been attending these meetings and all the single mothers I know who work for the city, Orme is the first employee I’ve seen bring his kid to work. The wife was out of town with the other kid, he said, so he had to leave work to pick up kid Number 2 at school before he could make a Local Gov Committee meeting. The boy was perfectly well behaved, but needed his dad’s attention now and then – wouldn’t you? I think it’s inappropriate for a guy who makes that kind of money to bring a little distraction to work with him, but that’s my point of view. 

Here’s my other point of view – this guy is part of the team that fired all the lower level employees – you know, the workers? – to give himself and several other suits big, BIG raises.  He’s making almost $200,000/year in salary alone, I think he should have to be his own secretary. I mean, come on, you’d expect a guy that makes that kind of money to come with a couple of clones.  For what we pay that guy, we should really get at least 2 and a half people. The least he can do, is take his own notes, answer his own phones, pick up his own lunch.

Or, he can hire somebody out of his own salary, and pay that person himself. 

 

City another $700,000 in the hole? wow – that’s about exactly what they appropriated for the new management salaries!

16 Sep

I just get insulted when the newspaper tries to cover for the government, the way the ER has been covering for our city council and $taff lately. I hate to be a reactionary, but I’m human, I react.

This morning, as if it’s a SURPRISE!, we hear that the city is $700,000 farther in the hole than Chris Constantin has recently reported.   Where could it have gone! Stolen by those Measure J opponents? No, that was the $900,000 they bitched about six months ago, this is apparently a new missing amount.

Well, I don’t have my calculator handy, but I’d say, it’s just about exactly the amount that Nakamura has appropriated – and that’s the appropriate word here – to pay the salary increases he gave to himself and his department heads when he “reorganized” the city. 

I feel reorganized – don’t you? I mean, my pockets are EMPTY! That was one hell of a reorganization – some political philosophizers  would call it, a redistribution of wealth. See, Nakamura redistributed money from certain funds into the General Fund, and then he used that money to pay the new salaries. That’s what we call a Lando.

Excuse me if I don’t understand why they are so surprised when those funds they pilfered have come up short. Duh, silly me! I’m not playing the game.  You’ve heard of the Emperor Has No Clothes game, where you pretend a naked man is suited up in the finest outfit you have ever seen. Well, in this game, we pretend we have a lot of money, when we really don’t. If you are the first one to shriek, “STOP SPENDING MONEY, WE DON’T HAVE ANY!” you are OUT! 

Chico City Council to hear fund deficit is significantly higher than anticipated

By ASHLEY GEBB-Staff Writer

POSTED:   Enterprise Record 09/16/2013 12:07:56 AM PDT

 
Click photo to enlarge

Sean MorganAll Chico E-R photos are available
 

CHICO — The Chico City Council will hear Tuesday that the capital projects fund deficit has unexpectedly grown by $700,000.Finance staff previously estimated that Fund 400 would have a negative balance of $2.5 million at the end of this fiscal year. Instead it’s now estimated to carry a $3.2 million deficit.

To prevent additional deficit, the fund’s current structural imbalance must be corrected.

Councilor Sean Morgan said he was angry upon first hearing the news.

“It’s like, how do we continue to find that we are further and further in the hole?” Morgan said. “My next question is, how does this happen?”

Fund 400 pays for major programs, buildings and facilities, and major equipment, and also operates as a holding fund for project administrative costs, according to the city staff report. Direct and indirect costs accumulate in the fund and are later allocated to the source by which they are funded.

The fund’s negative balance began in fiscal year 2011-12 and has been partially attributed to elimination of redevelopment agency-funded projects, and the number of projects that can fund overhead costs.

Over the years, as project funding shrank, indirect costs remained the same, causing $3.2 million in indirect costs to accumulate.

As staff developed the 2013-14 budget, $25 million in unexpended projects remained for the prior fiscal year. Because those projects were not completed and indirect costs were not reduced, the fund’s deficit grew, the staff report states.

“The good news is this should be the last surprise,” Morgan said. “The bad news is the budget we just passed in June — there is $700,000 not accounted for.”

Councilor Randall Stone said he too was frustrated by the news, but it wasn’t surprising. Councilors and staff have understood for a while that numerous funds have problems.

“We knew that given the nature of what has gone on for the last 10 years, the potential for something like this was very high,” he said.

The impacts still will be devastating, Stone said.

Anticipated revenue and savings benefits from elsewhere will not be able to compensate, making deeper cuts necessary.

And small areas the city has worked to preserve, such as the $20,000 to $28,000 it costs to keep Caper Acres open, will come under closer scrutiny.

“All of these little things that didn’t seem like much to many people were tremendous in being able to achieve our goals,” he said. “That gets eviscerated with an $800,000 debt.”

Whether concessions or more layoffs, there is no easy fix, Morgan said.

“I am only one council member but I will scream from the rooftops that we cannot afford to cut public safety any more for any reason. It’s going to have to come from somewhere else,” he said.

Challenges ahead are substantial, Stone said.

“You feel like that kid with his finger in the dike and seeing major cracks and holes developing,” he said. “We are not securing it. The hole just got much larger.”

Fund 400 remains the city’s second-largest deficit fund, after the private development fund, which itself is $9.4 million in the red. Combined with the airport and capital grants funds, they add up to more than $14 million in deficits.

Also Tuesday, the City Council will be asked to authorize recruitment for a vacant senior maintenance worker position, and hiring for the new economic development manager and a city engineer positions. Funding has been budgeted for all three.

The agenda also includes consideration and approval of work plans for the Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board, the Arts Commission, the Airport Commission, the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission, and the Planning Commission.

PUBLIC MEETING

Chico City Council

6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Council Chambers

421 Main St.