At tomorrow evening's City Council meeting there are two items in particular that show the claims made by the "Yes On Measure UUT" crowd were kinda bogus. They could also have been baseless and even dishonest. Again, no surprise to anyone who reads this blog, but you know how that goes. Obviously there was a critical shortage of well-informed residents available to vote this year, and those fabulous postcards filled with wistaria colored bromides and unrealistic promises were enough to sway their none too heavily involved heads.
I'd like to thank the "Yes On Measure UUT" Facebook page for leaving the following two postcards up on their site. For the moment you can see them in situ by clicking here. Usually campaigns as fact-free as that one would pull such things down shortly after an election. Happily, they have left all this up for us to enjoy. Probably out of laziness, though arrogance might play a role as well. I am not certain they really give a damn about whatever you might think. They got the money and that is all that matters.
Here is the first of the two cards I lifted from that Facebook page.
We're looking at the bottom two items on this card. Those being "Community Services" and "Library." You know, the place that so many people love. Or (Heart) as those ironically non-verbal library signs put it.
At tomorrow night's City Council meeting there is an agenda item (link) dealing specifically with just these very two things. Both of which are now to be combined into one department in order to keep salaries low. Or at least lower than they are in other nearby cities. Places where salaries and benefits are more generous.
Now, and if the proponents of higher utility taxes were to be believed, Community Services and Library Services would remain untouched and pristine should adequate UUT monies be made available by the voters. Yet here we can see that these two departments are being combined in order to be able maintain below market personnel costs. Is that what you thought a 66% increase in utility taxes would do?
The next card deals with the tender topic of water infrastructure. Here is how it goes.
Please note this sentence. "Unless Measure UUT passes, our City Council will have to significantly reduce programs and services and will be forced to delay vital repairs to our infrastructure."
Certainly there is no infrastructure more vital than Sierra Madre's creaky and rusty water system, right? Obviously that is what was being referred to here. So if raising utility taxes was supposed to take care of all that, why is this following unhappy information to be found in a staff report for tomorrow's City Council meeting (link)?
So there you go. Despite the Measure UUT 66% utility tax increase those "vital repairs" to the city's water infrastructure remain unfunded. All $13 million dollars worth.
Anybody surprised? You shouldn't be.
This report then goes on to consider what measures would be needed to adequately fund those many millions of dollars in desperately needed water infrastructure replacement. They include new parcel taxes, a sales tax increase and, of course, another round of bonds. This would be on top of the $23 million or so in bond debt the City of Sierra Madre is already carrying. Much of which the city is still only making interest only payments on.
And did you know that there might be yet another round of water rate increases coming up as well? How about that, right? Apparently Measure UUT really was just only the beginning.
I'd hate to say we told you so. But we did.