Thursday, April 22, 2010

Council moves forward on plans to fix city's 'structural' budget deficit over time


Pacifica City Council put into motion steps to reduce the city's budget deficit by finding ways to increase revenue and cut expenses.

Council unanimously approved Monday, April 12 the recommendations from the Financing City Services Task Force to move forward on a plan to try to reduce the city's $14 million structural deficit over a five-year period. After meeting over the last year and a half to figure out what to do, the committee presented its final report in three options.

Option one is the committee's favored option as it does not cut the budgets of any city department nor does it cut personnel positions. It calls for the city to revisit labor agreements to try to negotiate a wage freeze and a freeze to the city's contribution rate to retirement benefits, among other things. Revisiting labor agreements, the task force expects to save $8.5 million over a five-year period.

Under this option, voters will be asked to approve three revenue-generating measures — an increase of the temporary occupancy tax (TOT) hotel guests pay, a public safety assessment and a revised utility users' tax. The TOT would increase from 10 percent to 12 percent to generate $72,000 over five years if voters approve the measure in November. Next spring, voters will be asked to pass a public safety assessment to raise $4 million over four years. The revised utility users' tax, expected to provide $2 million in additional revenue over three years, will come before voters in November 2012.


Posted by Steve Sinai


Lionel Emde said...

The task force was given its marching orders by our city council and carried them out.
Option Numero Uno? Raise taxes and fees.

Remember the first incarnation of this task force? The one that came up with the brilliant recommendation to make Pacifica's sales tax the highest fer many counties 'round these here parts?

That was a predetermined conclusion as well.
No independent research, just a consultant, who, like most city consultants knew the conclusion to reach by "research" in order to get paid.

This is a common practice in citys these days and it isn't working as well as it used to.

Steve Sinai said...

So does anyone actually know whether Pete Shoemaker was put in charge of the Task Force by the City Council, or was he voted to be chair by the other Task Force members?

If it was the former, then there's a 100% probability that the final outcome was fixed from the start. If it's the latter, then there's only a 90% chance the outcome was fixed from the start.

Anonymous said...

Lionel is correct! My neighbor, who was on the "Task Force" confirmed it. It was a predetermined conclusion handed down from our Council and staff. There was only a Plan A, i.e., raise taxes and fees. No Plan B, e.g., cut City costs. I can see Vreeland now, "We are just implementing what the independent citizens task force recommended." LOL@Vreeland!!! LOL@City Council!!! LOL@PERS!!! LOL@"Task Force"!!! LOL@voters!!!

A friend of my sister's dentist said...

Have any of you read the Final Report? I seriously doubt it from reading these comments.

Lionel, you had asked earlier about a gap of $8M -- it was laid out clearly in the report as a result of labor negotiation. Did you read it?

Now posters are saying there's "only a Plan A."

How about reading the report for yourself instead of relying on friends, neighbors or landscapers to do your thinking for you?

The report lays out THREE options labelled A, B, and C. Yes, they are options, and the Task Force recommends pursuing A, but this option depends on voter approval, hence the other options.

Jimmy Vreeland said...

Name one thing I fixed. Highway 1=no, sewer plant=no, city budget=no, police & fired=no,

I did run up a lot of debt, and bankrupt the town but look at all the pretty trails.

Jimmy Vreeland said...

That should be fire.

I was so excited over all the progress the town has made under my watch!!!!

Open Wide said...

@A friend of my sister's dentist:

You need to lay off the nitrous oxide. The "Task Force" recommendation was more cooked than the Dinty Moore Stew you would be eatin' every night, i.e., if you had teeth...

Ownage Machine said...

You opened wide all right... and put your foot right in.

You'll have to point out where I defended the Task Force report as not being "cooked."

Oh that's right, I didn't. But don't let it stop you from mashing your keyboard some more.

I simply said the report contains three courses of action; they're even conveniently labelled A, B, and C. I'll bet even YOU could find them if you bothered!

So when someone posts that there is no Plan B to address city costs beyond raising fees and taxes, they've exposed themselves as not having read the very report that they're criticizing.

Just like you haven't read the post of mine you're criticizing.

Flack Attack said...

@Ownage Machine:

You doth protest too much. All I was doin' was relating what a member of the "Task Force" had told me. If you are so naive that you actually think there really is a Plan B/C, I can't possibly protect you from yourself. I don't care what's in the report. Intent is 99% of the law. I suggest you look up CYA in your wiki while you're waiting for the nitrous to take effect.

Wiki Wichardo said...

I don't know what's worse, stupidity or apathy. Either way, you have both in spades.

I have the Report in front of me. Hmmmmm...

"Option A: Expenditure and Revenue Adjustments," page 3

"Option B: Mandated Percent Reductions in Departments," page 4 (oh look, a "Plan B" that you claim doesn't exist right there on paper before me!)

"Option C: Service Reduction Options," page 4 (oh look, a "Plan C" that you claim doesn't exist right there on paper before me!)

Your post is a version of Groucho Marx's "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes" except Groucho was smart, funny, and thoughtful. You? Not so much.

What other amazing insights do you have about the Task Force Report that you didn't read and don't care about?

Fool me twice... said...

Wiki: You're entitled to live in your own private Idaho. Again, free country - can't stop you. But what supposedly differentiates homo sapiens from those much further down the food chain is the ability to learn from our mistakes. Even an amoeba seems somewhat capable of this. You, on the other hand, do not. When you cast your ballot once again for the incumbents, you will prove my point.

Timmy Lincecum said...

Whoosh! Another swing-and-a-miss. STRIKE FIFTEEN!

I never cast my ballot for any of the current council members.

Lionel Emde said...

"Lionel, you had asked earlier about a gap of $8M -- it was laid out clearly in the report as a result of labor negotiation. Did you read it?'

'Now posters are saying there's "only a Plan A."

'How about reading the report for yourself instead of relying on friends, neighbors or landscapers to do your thinking for you?"

I did read the report, and Option A is raising taxes and fees.
The supposed reduction of $8.5 million in employee costs, which I admit I missed in the earlier part of the report, is no "result of labor negotiation."
In fact the city has been unable to come to any agreement with 80 percent of the bargaining units of the city's workforce.
So the negotiations haven't even taken place, that we know of.

The city used to employ a professional outside negotiator to do these contracts, now it's in-house and you see the results after years of these "cost-savings." It's a disaster.

We need new thinking on this subject, not more grabbing of the public's money as it disappears from view.

mike bell said...

"This is an issue that is complicated and is a national issue," said Councilmember Jim Vreeland. (commenting on the deplorable state of Pacifia's economy in the Pacifica Tribune)

Don't you just love the way this guy bends the truth and hides behind headlines? Never mind that he and his sycophants have crippled every attempt by every credible investor to bring needed revenue to our town. Never mind that he and his pals blocked development of the only "Redevelopment Zone" left in Pacifica.

If only he was as skilled at governance as he is at lying. Remember when he performed that little skit on the beach? He tried to convince us that it was because of the "tar balls" that the beaches were closed. He was hoping that we'd be stupid enough to not notice 7 million gallons of sewage that was pumped out of our $50,000,000 state of the art sewage treatment plant.
How about the law suits by previous public servants spawned by his abuse of power costing us taxpayers +$100,000's not to mention the damage he did to the victims? How about the +$100,000's he spent trying to build an ocean front Mayors Office?

If this guy is re-elected, Pacifica can never again complain about it's bad fortune.

Bark Nuggets said...


Anonymous said...

Strike Sixteen,

Are you that intellectually bereft that you've resorted to posting under someone elses screen name?

You're not very good at the Internet.

Bark Nuggets said...


Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 5:27 PM:

"Posting under someone else's screen name"? What in the hell do you think you are doing? I own this name!

Antoninus said...

I'm Spartacus!

Anonymous said...

No, I'm Spartacus!

Meow Mix said...

See how I did that? I took the Bark Nuggets dog thingy and turned it into a cat thingy.

BTW, I'm Spartacus!

Council Confusion said...

Hey, how come the study session starts at 4PM on Monday? Can't remember if I've ever seen that before. DeJarnutts will never make it through the council meeting. I see labor negotiations are part of that study session. A little late in the game.

Kathy Meeh said...

City Council 4PM Monday closed session (as in citizens are not invited to view) after the meeting is opened asked if any whoever is there has comments.

Thanks for noticing 1) Past City Treasurer Maurine Lennon lawsuit, 2) 330 Esplanade property negotiations, 3) Teamster Labor negotiations.

Anonymous said...

Well I was on the task force and the members elected Pete Shoemaker
The council had little to do with the task force and all this stuff is just made up nonsense...if any member felt anyway other than okay about what was going on they said so - every one of them. The first task force for the sales tax, well that was a bunch of nonsense but this one was work - too bad more of you did not help out

Kathy Meeh said...

Give me a break, Anonymous. Think about it, the economic solution available from this city council is cutting payroll and services, at the same time taxing citizens-- that's the 5 year economic plan for this city. First comment by Lionel Emde about summed it up: "Option Numero Uno? Raise taxes and fees."

This city council has worked very hard during their 8 years + 5 projected years = 13 years complete and total economic disaster. The committee helps city council "duck and cover", think that's more of a benefit than being on the outside and calling it what it is?

Time to replace the "nothing for Pacifica" city council, "numero uno" this city can't afford their "economic failure". How about volunteering for that cause-- based upon 8 years evidence, seems to me that's the only cause that makes sense for this city and for that some of us have volunteered.

Anonymous said...

So Lionel -- why don't you get on one of these commissions or do something to bring about the needed change, instead of just bitching all the time.

Wag more, bark less, eh?

Anonymous said...

Kathy - did not see you at the meetings once but you seem to know "everything." How can that be? Interesting, approach....
Getting a new council is fine, but what do you plan to do about the budget shortfall today! That will not wait for a new what are your plans that will maintain services and balance the budget. Please find the "fat" you think you can cut! Were you going through the budget line by line? Blame the council all you want, that is fine. What ever the current council did or did not do - how are you going to keep us going today!

Steve Sinai said...

The only way I would vote for any new taxes would be if I saw some tangible evidence the city was reversing it's hostile attitude towards businesses that can provide the city with new tax revenues. (I suppose if the city council agreed to step down on the condition the new tax proposals were approved, then I'd vote for the taxes.)

The Economic Development Committee is a start, but I'll need to see ideas being put into practice. Until then, agreeing to pay extra taxes to the city would be like agreeing to continue supplying heroin to a heroin addict.

Short of that, the city's going to have to cut jobs and salaries. If city employees get mad at anyone, they should get mad at city council for mismanaging the city and driving it into the poor-house.

Kathy Meeh said...

I agree with Steve. To that I add, City council has failed this city economically, proven with an 8 hear track record. If city council steps down in favor of 3 genuine pro-business, pro-economic development challengers candidates bring on the truly temporary tax, otherwise continue to cut city services-- this is the consequences of what this city council has wrought.

Anonymous, I've spent a lot of years on the outside of this city council. I know who they are and what they do. I understand the agenda, and the committees which function within constrained guidelines with pre-determined outcome. Nothing changes until this city council leadership is gone.

The only meeting where I was present was Finance, where nothing further could be cut except a phantom police position which was never filled. Economic Development with this year's Chamber of Commerce on board is a welcome and interesting occurrence.