A request to city council

I would like to request that each member of the Salida City Council publicly describe how they would deal with the financial ramifications should the proposed 2A initiative be passed. Councilmen Brown and Bowers have stated they would not support a reduction in staff if the 2A initiative is implemented. With the removal of the ability to fund “operations” from 2A monies and the fact that the disbursement of 2A revenues would be rigidly defined by the ordinance, what the two Councilmen said is their desire might not be possible.

Further, I would hope that the Council does not “direct staff” to come up with the options. It is not the Staff’s budget. It is the Council’s budget. Let the Council express to the public how the City’s services would change in reaction to the potential budget change.

It is only with a clear articulation of what the 2A initiative would change that the voters of Salida can make a rational decision should it come to a vote. The City Council owes that to all voters in Salida.

Finally, I would ask Mr. Farney and Mr. Carlisle to postpone their Initiative until a scheduled election. Mr. Carlisle has often expressed concern regarding City expenditures. Having the election during a regular cycle would dramatically reduce the costs of the election to the citizens.

Respectfully,
Chuck Rose
Salida

The Citizen is happy to provide a forum for comments and discussion. Please be civil, truthful, and relevant. Please suggest removal of comments that violate these standards. Real names are appreciated.

5 Responses to “A request to city council”

  1. Bill Smith

    Chuck:

    What I would like to see is where the money is going now on the operations side. The City has made available a lot of information about where they are spending 2A dollars on the capital side, but very little information on the operations side. If we saw a list of those things that 2A actually pays for on the operations side it would inform this discussion a great deal.

    I don't think it helps the discussion to fearmonger like the letter in the mountian mail today claiming that we will have to shut down the fire department or close the steamplant. We had a fire department, police department, public works department, pool and the steam plant before 2A, and they were paid for without the 2A money. Let's see where the money is going and then we can have a intelligent discussion about it. Without knowing where the money goes today, we can't have that discussion.

    Bill Smith
    Salida

    Like (8)
  2. Louise Fish

    Mr Rose has a great idea. I often hear that the city spends too much but never what to cut. Our elected officials need to step up and tell us just what will be cut if the Carlisle/Farney initiative passes.

    Like (1)
  3. Monika Griesenbeck

    Some quotes from an interview with Finance Director Jan Schmidt in a Mountain Mail article titled "Schmidt Explains 2A Spending" dated November 5, 2013:
    1. Each year, Schmidt said she gauges the city's finances to determine what portion of the 2A tax should go to the city's operating budget and how much should go to the capital budget. (operation of 2A has increased annually, 09 -$297,117, 10 -$511,406, 11 -$610,067, 12 -$782,214, 13 - $698,544 )
    2. "The city also uses 2A funds each year to pay debt service on the Tauber Building. The city made its first $161,900 payment on debt in June 2009, and continues to make the annual payment using 2A funds each year. (this expenditure must come under the definition of "other infrastructure")
    3. Schmidt said with the passage of 2A, the city gave up $300,000 in property taxes and specific ownership taxes that were unrestricted. "That hole needed to be filled with some other source of revenue" she said.

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  4. Chuck Rose

    Bill,
    It would be helpful if you would attribute the letter you are speaking of. I do not think my letter is fear mongering in the least.
    Chuck

    Like (6)
  5. Bill Smith

    Chuck:

    Sorry if that was confusing, The Letter in the MM was from Ed Berg. I did not mean to imply that you were anything other than the great, respectful, rational and intelligent guy I wish was still the mayor.

    My point is that the city keeps putting out information on the operations side of the 2A money with not enough detail to have the kind of discussion that you and I want to have.

    I have been trying to get detailed information about 2A operational spending since last December. I have worked through the current mayor and Jan to get the information. I even asked Jim Miller to help me get at it. In yesterdays MM it was the same thing. There is a line item in an article in the paper that says for 2014 the city spent $844,487 on "operation, maintenance and repair of roads and other public infrastructure of the city."

    Clearly this is where the savings on the operations side are going to come from, but there is no detail about where the money is spent. The number is very specific, and it doesn't seem like it would be difficult to get the other information, but no one seems to be able to get the info. At least I have not. If anyone out there can get the details on where the operational 2A spending goes, I for one would love to see it. It seems like an easy thing, but as I said, I have been asking since December. The reason I asked Jim Miller to help was because he wrote a letter to the MM saying Jan always answered his questions. I asked him to help back in August and still no details.

    I think it is a fair question to ask all of the city council members what the would look at for cuts, but asking someone to detail what they would cut, without telling them where the 2A money goes today is not fair. Maybe the council does have this info and the public does not. Maybe it is out there in public, and I am just too lame to find it. I feel like I've asked the right people to help.

    I think some facts would help move this discussion forward, and I think it is an important discussion to have. As I pointed out earlier, before 2A was passed, we had a fire department, police department, public works department, pool and the steam plant, so I don't see why those would be the first things to cut, but I don't know where the money is going, so I really can not have a reasonable discussion about the 2A operational cuts, until the target of the funding is known.

    Am I being unreasonable here? I am not trying to point fingers or make accusations about any of this. I am really just looking for information.

    Again - Chuck, I am sorry if you felt like I was calling you out. I was not.

    Bill

    Like (1)