Skip to comments.City Falls $3 Million in Hole - City Manager Rick Daniels Explains Red Ink Spending
Posted on 11/20/2012 7:27:12 AM PST by starpublisher
A city that kept in the dark about finances is facing a budget deficit of over $3 million. City manager Rick Daniels finally admitted the red ink this week.
(Excerpt) Read more at desertvortex.com ...
Despite the fact city manager Rick Daniels specifically said at a recent city council meeting the city is not spending one penny of reserves the city manager this week admitted the city would be spending over half the reserves. Numbers dont lie.
Bad news was announced at a Finance Committee meeting last Thursday chaired by council member Jan Pye. Previous meetings of the committee exclusively formed of Mayor Yvonne Parks and Jan Pye have not been open to the public.
In addition to Yvonne Parks also attending the meeting were city manager Rick Daniels, finance director Terrance Beaman, and two staff members. Councilman Adam Sanchez arrived late, listening in but not participating in the discussion. In total 14 people attended the meeting.
The meeting opened with Beaman listing stakeholders vested in city financial stability. Number one on the list were city residents, followed by business owners, tourists, community groups and city employees, etc. Stakeholders at the meeting identified themselves and the majority were city employees with only one a business owner.
When the question of why there were no representatives of merchants or the tourist and hotel industry in attendance the answer was that they were invited but choose not to attend. Jan Pye suggested the lack of attendance was an indication of confidence in the way the council has been handling things. It was a comment that struck everyone dumb before the shock that came next.
Temporary Deficit Spending
City budget papers presented by Beaman were distributed with one line item clearly identifying a budget deficit of $3,223,000. City manager Rick Daniels down-played the issue saying deficit spending was temporary as certain money promised from the power plant and a sales tax appeal would take care of that.
That was counted by a comment from Planning Commissioner John Girardi, the former director of finance for the city of Coachella explaining the rule of city financing is not to bank on receiving promised but not guaranteed funds.
Bottom line is the city this year is exhausting $5 million in reserves by over fifty percent and the official story from city hall is we have nothing to worry about. Importantly, the City Manager Rick Daniels is replenishing the reserve dip with shaky one-time revenue and doing nothing about solving the problem. This simply leaves the city vulnerable again the following year unless things change.
Money for Nothing
Other issues discussed included the possibility of recovering several million dollars lost on the Pink Flamingo and Jewish Temple properties and the Music Festival. City manager Rick Daniels said he would bring that information to the next meeting.
The committee worked mostly in the dark unable to review specific costs as it was not presented with a complete accounting of all expenditures. Top of the list was management pay, an issue that has been successfully avoided for a considerable time.
With the city managers contract alone sucking up nearly $1 million over three years and other top city managers pulling down in excess of $10,000 a month, some are starting to believe the city could and should save money and get equal value by paying half that amount or less.
However, in a recent council meeting when Council members Russell Betts and Adam Sanchez supported limiting top management pay to new hires (proposing a pay cap just on new hires alone and not affecting existing personnel) they were resoundingly beaten down by the council majority of Parks, Pye and councilman Scott Matas.
Whos in Charge?
With the council majority unwilling to limit pay to city employees who now have a controlling majority of the finance committee it is a legitimate worry that city employees appear to be in charge of city hall, not our elected representatives.
The urgency of the citys financial crisis was more alarming to some than others. It was suggested to meet more frequently for solving the citys budget crisis as all were in agreement that some sort of overhaul is necessary. However the majority present, dominated by city employees, overwhelmingly decided on continuing once a month meetings, perhaps hoping a solution will appear all by itself to save the day.
The next meeting scheduled Dec. 20, 6:00 pm should be interesting as the committee requested details with an emphasis on examining top management pay. In the past this has been secret. However, it would be surprising if the city manager does not supply the committee with specifically requested detailed information essential for fiscal budgeting and instead supplies general salary ranges instead.
Public employee unions should be illegal.
It is a chronic situation. Our small town of 11,000 has a city manager making $179,000 a year and has a paid assistant. Go figure.
No more income tax....no more sales tax.....no more property tax.....no more gasoline tax.....
Pay all Federal tax on Jan 15. Pay all State tax on April 15. Pay all County tax on June 15. Pay all City tax on Oct 15.
Our taxes are hidden. They need to be made public. One check to each, once a year.
Multiply this by hundreds of big and small cities nationwide and you can see that eventual collapse will occur. Gimmicky accounting and fraudulent book keeping can only continue for so long.
But if you pay them enough, accountants can make ANYTHING happen. Pay the city managers enough and they will move heaven and earth to keep it happening.
Sounds like it’s time to sell the city to HP for ten times what it’s worth...they’ll never notice until after the check has cleared.
The city manager movement was seen as a way to counter the petty corruption of local politics by hiring a professional to prepare budgets and run operations. What has happened almost everywhere though, is employee unions, especially fire and police, can determine who gets elected, since they turn out the vote. Then the mayor and council hire a city manager who does their bidding—if he wants to keep his job. City managers help politicians get re-elected by putting fire stations in their districts, or receation centers, or fixing the potholes, or a seawall, or whatever. Bottom line: the bigger cities abandon the ruse of professional management and go to a strong mayor (blatantly corrupt) system of government.
THAT’S HOW SUPPOSEDLY PROFESSIONAL MANAGERS OVERSEE THE COMMUNITY’S FISCAL IRRESPONSIBILITY AND ULTIMATE BANKRUPTY. It takes a while and before the whole thing blows up, they leave and go to another city to screw up.
The economic decline and default process will boil down to a final tactic: huge property tax hikes against the wishes of most citizens. Then local and state employees along with their friends who provide federal funding will own nearly all of the land and manage nearly all of the resources.
One political party works more for federal income recipients. The other works for more local ones. See where we’re going? Bipartisan communism.
Then vote on Federal Offices on February 1st and require tax payment receipt to be eligible to vote. Freeloaders need not apply!
Someone needs to check on California’s food, water and air, something is causing mass idiocy out there. They believe Gloria Alred over a proven job creator to hand the governorship to a professional political idiot who then pushes the ‘Start Button’ for a train from Podunk to ‘?’ at very high speed, I mean wages!
Remember that Superman movie where Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor villain was about to separate California from the mainland? Boom-Boom baby!