Don’t worry Eureka it’s just a long-term structural deficit…..oops

In the past we have felt the need to translate Rob Arkley’s self indulgent rants on Talkshop for better public understanding, but this week we are going to have to translate for Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks. You see, he is in the unenviable position of having to make do with the can that was kicked down the road by the Brady Bunch and their ilk. Dave Tyson reportedly told people at City Hall that he was glad to retire and not be the City Manager anymore before the PERS unfunded liability debt really hit the City hard. It was pretty clear 6 or 7 years ago that this was coming, it just wasn’t dealt with. Now the chickens have come home to roost, and you WILL see cuts to public safety.

Eureka tax measures did the job?

A great deal of concern has been expressed in the past two weeks regarding the City of Eureka’s proposed 2015-16 annual budget. This “proposed,” not adopted budget addresses a projected shortfall of approximately $2.4 million within the city’s $26 million General Fund, by “browning” the Myrtle Avenue Fire Station, eliminating some civilian positions (PSOs) at the police department, and through layoffs and permanent position freezes in other city departments…..(We are going to cut Fire service to a third of City of Eureka. If you get in a traffic accident on the safety corridor, don’t expect anybody to respond in a timely manner. Mail in reports….they’ll be making a comeback. Unless your life is in danger, or there is a crime in progress, don’t bother to call the police, they be busy doing the work the PSOs used to do).

brady bunch 1

the Brady Bunch

This tax measure had broad support from our fire and police unions, and those personnel in their off duty time ran an effective campaign of personal contact and public education to ensure the success of the tax measure. (They believed the lies from city hall. “Police will be fully funded. The raises that you’ve put off for the past several years while prices go up are just around the corner.” Suckers!)

In addition, the city provided detailed information on the city website as well as an informational brochure that was mailed out to businesses and residents throughout the city……(That pesky blog the Tuluwat Examiner called us out so we have to put out something on the website. Tyson, can you come in as assistant City Manager to help us spin the wasteful spending of the past several years?)

The city of Eureka made the point that this tax was needed to maintain these services, and yet six months later, I, Greg Sparks City Manager, am recommending closing a fire station and reducing civilian personnel (PSOs) at the police department. This should not be considered a public credibility issue for the police and fire personnel who went door to door explaining this sales tax. (The cops, PSO’s and firemen honestly believed our propaganda, so don’t be mad at them. Hell, they might not even have a job next month so cut them a break!).

This is not a failure of the City Council to be honest with the public. From my perspective, as City Manager, this clearly shows the depth of the city’s long-term structural deficit and its impact on all municipal departments and services……(Structural deficit besides PERS, means we like spending money on the Zoo, Chamber of Commerce and other pet projects. So what if the millions spent in the last several years could have been used to save PSO’s and a Fire Station. We have our priorities, okay!).

Dave Tyson and the Brady Bunch kicked the can, and now we have to pay the piper. It’s that simple, and just that damn sad. Will this council deal with the pet projects? Hopefully. But even if they do Public Safety is going to take a big hit.

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12 thoughts on “Don’t worry Eureka it’s just a long-term structural deficit…..oops

  1. ” . . . Public Safety is going to take a big hit.”

    There are “financial hardship” provisions in CalPERS Resolution (ACT-96-05E (Rev.), Sec. D) that allow for extending the amortization “smoothing” period. Why not ask for a 10 percent per year rate instead of 20? Is that an option?

    (Note: You can enter any City/County in the “Employer Contribution Rate” database on the CalPERS website @ http://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?bc=/emplny City/County.)

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  2. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise that PERS rates would go up after the crash. The city should have been building reserves, and cutting non essential services back for the past several years. Instead, it was business as usual. That’s just too bad for us residents in Eureka, I guess.

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    • In other words, we should have done back then what we’re doing now? But…but…aren’t you complaining about these cuts?

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      • Why do these cuts when halving the zoo budget and cutting off the Chamber would have left more than enough to prevent these cuts Fred. Pay attention a little please.

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    • Here is a novel concept. Make the employees pay for their overly generous retirement…in its entirety. No one in the private sector gets these retirements. The military is about to dump their retirement in terms of a 401k. These folks as soon as they retire double dip and just get another job with another agency. What do you think Murl Harpham’s retirement is? He gets 3% a year for every year he worked (which was like 50) so that means his “retirement check” is about 1 1/2 times what his paycheck was. Actually more when you counter in the tax benefits. Any actuarial will tell you that such a system where folks either make or exceed their pay check is just not sustainable. The only way to support that is to borrow or make the employees pay more or pass more taxes. A worker only needs 80% of his salary to equal his paycheck which means a cop has to work about 26 1/2 years. What is next a Municipal Income Tax where you have to pay income taxes on your income if made in Eureka? This situation is going to get worst. Yes I blame the Brady Bunch.

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  3. Measure O still has roughly 12 months left before the 5 years of Measure Q recently approved. The cuts to public safety are going to be taking place about 6 years earlier than all the talking heads assured us.

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  4. Nice spin.

    So we need to blame Chris Kerrigan, Larry Glass and Linda Atkins for this fiasco.

    BTW, what has Linda Atkins accomplished during her 7 years in office?

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  5. Reducing or even eliminating that revolting subsidy to the Chamber or Commerce would make a lot of sense, and a substantial cut to pouring money down that rat hole we call a zoo would please me immensely. Lets hope the city council has the courage to step up the plate on this one. The lobbies for both these money pits will make a lot of noises, as they usually do, but it it time to get our priorities straight.

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  6. Pingback: Tuluwat Examiner | Where the hell is the Eureka Police Officers Association on these pending budget cuts?

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