|To view last night's rather lengthy City Council meeting click here|
Not a whole lot goes on at these functions these days. A sense of preternatural calm seems to reign, and I am not certain if it is because nothing much is actually happening, or the more controversial stuff just doesn't get brought up. Except, of course, the need for more taxes. Maybe it's a Mayor Goss thing. He does not want to risk getting an irritable stomach.
Here is an example of what I mean.
Should you care to read the staff report for this item, feel free to click here. What you might like to ask while there is how can a City Council discuss its finances without once mentioning the $30 million dollars or so in debt the city is carrying in water bond and CalPERS debt?
How can something so large get airbrushed from a discussion of the city's budget?
As a reminder, here is a City Hall accounting from a few years back detailing the 2003 water bond disaster. This only came to light because MaryAnn MacGillivray forced the City Manager to make it public. As I know you remember, $6,750,000 in bond debt was assumed in order to build some of the water infrastructure required for a certain controversial downtown development scheme.
However, that scheme never came to be, and since much of the anticipated tax revenue from this defunct development didn't happen either, the city was financially forced to make interest only payments on this debt up until the year 2020. Which, 17 years later, is when the first actual payments on the principal will begin.
While that date must have seemed like forever and ever when this ridiculously bad deal was first concocted, it isn't all that far away now.
Pretty amazing if you bother to think about it. By making interest only payments up until the end of this decade, the City of Sierra Madre somehow managed to turn a $6,750,000 water bond into nearly $15,000,000 in debt. $8,175,486 of that in interest alone, or more than half.
This is something that will then hit every city budget from 2020 to 2034 at around $640,000 per year.
It might have deserved at least a mention last night. If only as a courtesy.
Ever wonder about Sierra Madre's ballooning pension debt? That did not come up as part of last night's budget discussion, either. According to Pension Tracker, which comes to us via the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, as of 2015 each and every household in Sierra Madre owes $8,472.00 big ones in pension debt. Be they large households or small.
I'm sure it is much more now. Here is the graphic (link).
As I mentioned above, that didn't come up last night, either. Which seems odd for a budget discussion.
You do realize that these are the things that caused City Hall to push so hard for Measure UUT, right? Despite all of the deceptive nonsense put out by Edward T. Garcia, the Sierra Madre City Council and all of those fine Yes on UUT people, it really wasn't about Baby Rhyme Time.
You were fibbed to for your money. Judging by last night, apparently the city still isn't all that much into leveling with you. And yes, they do want more.
Do you really enjoy being treated like a fool?