Elk Grove City Council – Spending Out of Control!


By Connie Conley |March 27, 2018 |  

The Elk Grove City Council’s spending appears to be a niche concern for those residents who take interest, which from their point of view is fine. However, it should be a concern of every Elk Grove taxpayer because ultimately it is your money. Residents shouldn’t wait until taxes go up before saying, “Enough is enough!

Therefore, a financial scorecard is needed at this time, and be mindful, this is just a snapshot of the city council’s spending of late.

The city council just approved a $40 million bond issue for the future Elk Grove Senior Center, Elk Grove Veterans’ Memorial Hall, and Elk Grove Animal Shelter. While this community center will be nice additions to our city, arguments could be made that the city council should have waited until the money was in the bank. The fact remains the interest residents will be paying on the bond is $19 million. That cash could go a long way to fixing our city’s deteriorating roads with $9 million to spare. 

Let’s be reminded of the Elk Grove Aquatics Center and that cost  The original budget of $14 million wasn’t enough money; so, there was meeting after meeting resulting in fuzzy math exchanges about the extra funds needed including a public-private partnership that ended in lawsuits and a loss of $600,000 because the city council believed some consultant and his fancy “too good to be true” rhetoric.  

When the aquatics center opens this summer, it is projected to run at a deficit of $1 million annually. How that deficit will be paid every year by the general fund, not to mention higher Mello Roos fees for Laguna Ridge homeowners, was another one of those explanations that was so wordy, one’s eyes glossed over until one just tuned out.
  
Let’s also be reminded that the city council just approved $400,000 for a spatial need's study for the future. What does that mean? Elk Grove City Hall and the Elk Grove Police Department will need more space for all the new hires. Both agencies are earmarked to also move to the civic center.  

Tens of millions in buildings costs? More bonds, more Mello Roos tax increases, which are sanitized and now called CFDs?  Our local government needs to dramatically change their funding policies before they put the taxpayers so far in debt there will be no escape.

And even worse, the Elk Grove City Council has an April 5th deadline to decide how to respond to the potential lawsuit regarding by-district voting.  Please be reminded that it is now California State law that cities over 100,000 can institute by-district voting with one vote of cities’ city councils.  That very legislation was authored by Elk Grove’s own Assemblymember Jim Cooper who served 14 years on the Elk Grove City Council.  One would think Cooper would know firsthand why Elk Grove needs by-district voting.

The city of Palmdale decided to fight a by-district lawsuit, and after four years lost and was required to pay legal fees and interest upwards of $12 million. If the Elk Grove City Council decides to “protect their own turf,” and spend millions on a legal battle, where are they going to get the money?  A sales tax increase?  

How would you feel about paying extra taxes to pay outside city-contracted attorneys to fight the inevitable?

There is a saying in ancient wisdom, “If you want to harvest in the autumn, you need to sow in spring,” which the Elk Grove City Council needs to heed when voting on future spending, including needless spending. 

The Elk Grove City Council shouldn’t be so concerned about their re-election bids, which is precisely what this by-district issue is all about, but instead sowing for a rich harvest for Elk Grove’s future and the well-being of all citizens.





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4 comments

D.J. Blutarsky said...

Thank you for trying to wake the dead. The apathy in this town is what allows these "finance ministers" to continue down this slippery slope. That slippery slope sometimes throws them off their skis, and then, they always have a villain to blame (i.e. Trump, SACOG, Silicon Valley, Howard Hughes, e-commerce, you name it), then they dust themselves off and head back down that slope some more.

In your piece, you state "There is a saying in ancient wisdom, “If you want to harvest in the autumn, you need to sow in spring,”. How true. And in the case of voter apathy, I would also add: we reap what we sow.

As long as the soccer fields stay green, Joe Schmo Pizza keeps the pepperoni coming, and no more stores go under, all is swell in Government Town!

Thank you for trying to give advance notice of the avalanche, but our gold-medal skiers are too busy basking in their glory to care.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

The council member I am most disappointed in, from a fiscal responsibility point of view, has to be Mr. Hume.

When I hear Mr. Hume comments in the last few years speaking about possible sales tax increases in Elk Grove, I am reminded of what the late Jack Kemp said about fellow Republican, Bob Dole. Of Mr. Dole, Mr. Kemp said "Bob Dole never met a tax he didn't hike. . . When Bob Dole talks about leadership for the future, he’s the man who led the fight for five major tax increases in the past five years."

Change Dole with Hume and that is what we have on the city council - their version of version of Senator Bob Dole.

As for Mr./MS. Blutarsky, your skiing analogy is quite humorous. However, I might suggest water skiing at a private lake is another appropriate analogy.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

The council member I am most disappointed in, from a fiscal responsibility point of view, has to be Mr. Hume.

When I hear Mr. Hume comments in the last few years speaking about possible sales tax increases in Elk Grove, I am reminded of what the late Jack Kemp said about fellow Republican, Bob Dole. Of Mr. Dole, Mr. Kemp said "Bob Dole never met a tax he didn't hike. . . When Bob Dole talks about leadership for the future, he’s the man who led the fight for five major tax increases in the past five years."

Change Dole with Hume and that is what we have on the city council - their version of Senator Bob Dole.

As for Mr./MS. Blutarsky, your skiing analogy is quite humorous. However, I might suggest water skiing at a private lake is another appropriate analogy.

Jerry Weiss said...

Let's not wait. Kick them out NOW!

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