Saturday, May 10, 2014

Misuse of Waste Water Treatment, aka Enterprise, Fund

1122 Sheila Lane
Pacifica, California 94044
(650) 359-4986

May 5 2014

City of Pacifica Staff is proposing that we borrow $2.1 million over 3 years from the waste water treatment fund (Enterprise Fund). The proposed use of this borrowing is to pay off the pension obligation bond. Wasn’t this bond just refinances in 2010?

The Enterprise fund was set up to provide funds for the repair and replacement of the waste water treatment system starting in 2020.

The sewer fund also owes $21 million in state loads payable by 2022 and another $11 million in bond obligations.

The fund now has the additional burden of being the primary source of funding for the $50 million judgment under the clean water act (To correct the conditions that lead to a sewer spill on Linda Mar Beach.)
This is the same fund that was plundered by City Council for years until the Courts put a stop to it. ($750,000 a year transferred to the General Fund)

That money has never been paid back.

The City Council has had a terrible record when it comes to paying back internal loans.

Council lent the Rockaway Beach Redevelopment Agency $6.5 million from the General fund and for years found reason after reason not to repay that money. When the State took over the R.D.A. the Pacifica taxpayers lost the money.

Even if the Council does set up a repayment program the Enterprise fund will not have sufficient money left in it to meet all its obligations in a timely manner. The net result will be our already high sewer fees will go much higher.

Local businesses, hotels and restaurants, will see sewer bills that could put them out of business.

Homeowners on fix incomes could find themselves unable to pay their property taxes and lose their homes. (the sewer fees are collected as part of your total property tax bill.)

Please Contact your Council Members and tell them NO to this unwise plan.

Len Stone 650-355-5700
MaryAnn Nihart 650-359-7624
Karen Ervin 650-483-2692
Mike O’Neill 650-302-2470
Sue Digre 650-278-1606

Submitted by Tom Clifford


Anonymous said...

Sad but true. And because time is the politicians best friend, they'll get away with this and be on down the road, one way or another, before the shit really does hit the fan.

Anonymous said...

Good Letter Tom!

This is the way Pacifica lives. Begging for scraps and handouts.

Tom Clifford said...

This proposal is on Monday nights City Council Agenda an could be adopted as early as the May 27th City Council meeting. Act now or live with the new higher sewer fees.

Kathy Meeh said...

Tom, you are admired for your "take no prisoners" letter to city council. I think we all understand that city council has not attempted to fix the ongoing financial gap in this city.

At city council last night (5/12/14), after you read your letter, the follow-up comments from Mayor Nihart were repellent, and did not address the long-term "robbing Peter to pay Paul" practice of this city. Mayor Nihart has been on city council 6 years. Without supporting bold economic development solutions, she and other councilmembers have been cutting the city budget every year since then, and much prior.

This time, of the NGOs, only the Resource Center may survive. And in another interesting part of the budget shell, it seems the $260,000 truck/equipment maintenance fund will be repurposed to a new city "slush fund" to pay for the PB&R roof, a "legal reserve", etc. (Guess the city trucks and related equipment will maintain themselves this year).

Anonymous said...

I was going to say Nihart's and Stone's comments after Tom's letter were off the wall, but I like Kathy's use of repellent. Very apt. Too bad those two aren't bound by a full disclosure requirement like you get when you buy a toaster.
And happy days, this Council thinks we will have turned the corner once the police bond and some other bond are paid off in 2015 or 2016. Debt service is certainly a drain on the budget, but is that really the right measure of prosperity for this city? Hey, maybe without the police bond, outsourcing the cops to the county will be our next life preserver--if the county is still picking up strays. I think we're all pretty clear that it isn't going to be economic development--with all due respect to the restaurants Stone mentioned as having joined the sales tax report--nothing of any real significance in the pipeline.
And who can wait to see how the likely loss of library hours will morph into a battle cry for one big new library. I do believe Nihart actually said something about looking into closing one library vs cutting hours at both. Probably just a happy coincidence, but what a nice bit of strategy to get us used to one library and build public appetite for a new central library. Oh, of course not.

Anonymous said...

That legal reserve is a real good idea.

Anonymous said...

I think having two library's is a waste of money. They are old and outdated. We are overdue for a modern Library.

Speaking to many locals, they really don't want big development in the city. So why call them names? I don't get it. Find another tactic. You lose supporters when you call people, who don't want a over populated city, names. They don't mind the high taxes. Duh! and only if those taxes support schools. They don't like taxes that support fire and police. Go figure. Who would want to move here if we don't have a solid police force. I know for a fact we have a crime problem. Crack houses. Car thieves. Drug and homelessness. Remember when we only had one homeless person, and that was his choice? Hope and Change. Hope we can build nice homes. And, don't CHANGE our Coastline. Leave our coast alone. P.S. Wild Equity is searching for red legged frogs in Pacifica, again. Hope it is not on your property.

Tom Clifford said...

Council was all over my comment about the R.D.A. saying that they weren't on the Agency board when it lent the money but most of them were on it during a time when the loan could have been paid back.

Neither the City Manager or Council acknowledged the $82 Million in obligations that the sewer fund has.
$21 million loan, $11 Million Bond, and $50 million judgement.

All they can see is the money that is in the Enterprise Fund that does not have to be spent right now. Kick the can down the road another couple of years

It does not take a crystal ball to see both or sewer rates going up and future City Councils going back to this fund when they can't balance the budget.

Anonymous said...

Who believes they'll borrow just 2 million if the fund has 5.7 million? And where's the report showing the projected sewer rate increases for us stupid schmucks who'll be making the actual repayment. That's the report I want to see. You know. The
repayment Council said we shouldn't worry about because they were legally bound to make it. Hello! That's us paying and Council sets the rate schedule. Stone or Nihart remarked they couldn't just print money like the feds. No shit. But they've found the next best thing...Pacifica taxpayers. Just curious--when was the last time money was bamboozled from this sewer reserve fund? It seems a little light.

Anonymous said...

1114 Hope you're not serious.

Anonymous said...

Tom, it's a script and a dance they do. It'll go forward to more ruin not because the actors are so skilled, but because there's nothing else. And then they'll be on down the road and another council will be doing the same dance. Making Pacifica self-reliant is no longer possible and what we pathetically called "our new council" knows it. Hey kids, let's leave them a library to remember us by!