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).
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.