Sunday, July 23, 2017

It Has Been A While Since Moody's Rated Sierra Madre's Water Bonds

Here is the most recent Moody's commentary on what they call the "Sierra Madre Water Enterprise." This includes Sierra Madre's 2003 Water Bonds. The report comes to us from 2015. The Ba1 rating is basically junk. The debt level they discuss here is $10,000,000.00, and I am going to assume that does not include interest.

Has any of that changed?


For the entire report click here.

4 Questions

1) Why did the City Council at the time the 2003 Water Bonds were sold commit us to something they must have known this City could not afford to repay without difficulty? Or, if not, where did they think that money would come from? The later voter defeated Downtown Specific Plan perhaps?

2) Why did the City of Sierra Madre decide to pay only the interest on its 2003 Water Bonds, knowing full well that doing so would require Sierra Madre's taxpayers to assume financial responsibility for an additional $9 million dollars in completely useless debt?

3) Why does City Hall refuse to in any way identify the elected officials who originally set us off on this financially ruinous course? Or discuss whatever their reasons were for doing so, even though those actions have today helped push our water enterprise to its current sad state?

4) Why did the City in the past refuse to address the widely held misperception that its proposed water rate increases were to fund water infrastructure upgrades, rather than mainly servicing demands laid out by Moody's that we had to pay more for water in order to repair our junk level bond ratings?  

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

58 comments:

  1. Any question on the hasty retirements of management?
    Mr Inman, jumps ship, only to land a position in Bradbury as ?, what was the title and salary increase that Ms. Michelle Keith suggested as she leaves that position, only to go and work for John Gilson City Manager that was removed from Sierra Madre because the city finances were a messy and lacked accountability.
    Come to think of it Ms. Keith when she was in management here, did not keep the ledgers correctly.
    The embezzling came from her department.
    The drip, drip, drip of money being wasted had continued to be mysterious until the departures of these people,that were in charge here, have moved onto greener city coffers elsewhere.
    Sierra Madre was mismanaged by that motley crew.

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    1. By any chance do you dictate you posts in a foreign language and run them through Google translate before submitting your comments? Odd writing style to say the least.

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    2. By any chance would you reveal here what your actual agenda is?

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  2. Within a twelve month period the librarian, the public works director, the city manager, the assistance city manager, the police chief and the finance director all retire or move to other cities.

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    1. Plus half the PD quit.

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    2. 8:08 - They all needed to go. I think they were pushed. This was a good thing.

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    3. That bunch ran Sierra Madre into the ground. They're still owed millions in retirement money.

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  3. OK Thank You.No questions.

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  4. No amnesty for Aguilar

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  5. Inmann was/is interim City Manager for Bradbery when Michele Keith headed east (Alta Loma?) to work for the former Sierra Madre city manger John Gillison. Another of our city staff went to Alta Loma (Elisa Weaver?) too. All these city personnel float along together in the small world of local government. At one time we were linked to Walnut, John Davidson followed Sean Joyce followed...? That our new city manager is from outside of California will bode well for a while until the reality of how mismanaged Sierra Madre has been for so long and how big the hole is we have to dig out of.

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  6. Moody's probably hasn't issued any rating adjustments lately because Sierra Madre is meeting its bond covenants and owners of those bonds are getting paid. This was accomplished by that series of water rate increases we were so richly fibbed to about. Moody's is there to protect their clients. When they see danger they crack the whip by doing things like lowering bond ratings. This causes the City Council to raise water rates. Of course, the CC tells you it is being done to do things like fix pipes. It's not. Sierra Madre's dismal water infrastructure problems are directly related to bad bond investments.

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  7. The bottom line is we can't afford a library. We can't afford a fire department. We can't afford our Police Department. And worst of all we can't afford to keep paying people Calpers retirement benefits knowing that each year that goes by will put us deeper in debt. When will we learn?

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    1. Well, we were able to afford them for 100 years. Just match the present budget allotment ratios to whatever there were when we could afford them. Simple math

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  8. And here we sit as citizens of a small city contemplating moving the library, adding on to the RC, selling city property for what? To save the library? How much would be saved if the library ceased to be? Unfortunately, there seems to be no way to hold the people that got the city into this mess, responsible. The bond debt as well as Calpers has to be paid. Have any of you looked at the warrants for the cost of the City Attorney? So much chaos in a city that only seems to care about Little League and the Library. No one goes before the CC and demands answers. No one puts them on the spot. The city is dying and the CC seems to want to throw money it doesn't have to causes that don't really matter in the scheme of things. The citizens were asleep and allowed all of this to happen. Now we need to get a grip and save what we can without moaning and groaning about it.

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    1. So get off you computer and booty and actually do something,we are the people that are responsible. I guess we could blame Jesus...
      The city is not dying btw a private charity wants to spend privately raised dollars to research moving the Library.

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    2. I'll be over to your house in a little bit to collect your donation.

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    3. Don't forget the wine.

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    4. That will be $60.

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    5. 10:43A I have tried on many occasions to bring about some change-to no avail. So I'm not sitting on my booty and doing nothing. It is rank stupidity to say we could blame Jesus! You appear to be one of those who vote for every tax and think paying for things we no longer need or afford are necessary. Your private charity is the Library. Who do you think gave that money to the foundation if not citizens? Maybe you can enlighten me as to how the city will pay the bond issues as well as the unending Calpers debt! I thought you were only allowed 6 pot plants. Seems you've had way more than your share.

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    6. I give nothing to the Library,but I don't admonish those who do give. I'm sorry you're tired of trying to bring change-to no avail. You don't seem to understand giving. The City (we) will pay all our debts don't be scared. EGBOK
      I only use my medicine before bed as a sleep aid and I don't get a share,I purchase what I need,if I can't afford it I finance it. I pay my bills I don't try to bring anything to anyone who doesn't want/need it.

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    7. If you see something, say something.

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    8. 12:21 - I think you've missed the point. It has little to do with who is giving to charity. What this is about is how these funds, charitably given, are being spent. People have a right to make their opinions heard. The way this is being rushed through by the city leaves the good and giving people in this town completely out in the cold. That is not right.

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  9. This is why we can't have nice things.

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    1. I have many nice things including a nice home in a beautiful,caring community with an excellent Police and Fire department and a hard working City Council. I live in Sierra Madre. It's a wonderful life.

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    2. Sad to think that mismanagement in the past is now threatening some of this community's best aspects.

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    3. What's done is done,no use crying over spilt milk,you can't have your cake and eat it too. Learn your lessons well and move on towards an exciting future. The skeletons of the past must not hold back the dream of a new life, even though fear and regret, guilt and remorse may unsettle us during the effort to give our future a new home.

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    4. Cliche: What's done is done
      Cliche: No use crying over spilt milk
      Cliche: You can't have your cake and eat it too

      Not sure that is going to pay the bills.

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    5. Bills will be paid. “Debts are like children: the smaller they are the more noise they make.”

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    6. You don't know anything a parrot couldn't learn.

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    7. If the police was that great they wouldn't have all quit en masse and sued the city multiple times

      This ain't Bedford Fakks

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    8. If you had a choice, would you keep the SMPD or the Library?

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  10. We must remember the past so we don't make the same mistakes by believing the lies and distorted information they gave us back then.

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  11. What part of PRESERVATION don't you people get? Please move to Arcadia or somewhere else. Leave our community alone and go move to the city. They already have a big library you can use.

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  12. Sell Greenberg Park, move those $10,000.00 stone benches up to the library's front green space, sell the back library lot, make the ADA repairs, call it a day.

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  13. I wonder who wants the library property. Must have some real juice downtown.

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  14. All R-3 along SM blvd and on the street behind? Maybe the lot to the east of the rear driveway is underused. I can see someone coming along and putting together a big project that will just add to the lack of "villageness" in that end of town. It is actually the library, low slung and 60s looking, up to the corner of Lima and SM Bl. (bank, florist, laundramat complex with parking, some appartment complexes and then the orthodontist to the west of the library) that extends the look of the village to our main street on the west side of town.

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  15. What does that say about the Kensington plopped down in the middle of town? The future of operating a Fire Department next to City Hall is in question.
    Maybe City Hall could relocate to the Library property, and a similar retirement two story could be built in it's place?
    What's with the caution toxic gas sign on the East rear driveway exiting the Library's driveway? Never any info updates from the city on that.

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  16. Why do people call Sierra Madre a village? It is a small city with bad water, high taxes, outrageous fees, bad roads, decaying infrastructure, horrible debt, and is part of a crappy school system. I have lived here over 30 years and all I can say today will be better than tomorrow. Things will continue to get worse. On the positive side the weather is good and the house is paid for. Just wish we could afford the water.

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    1. The slogan Village of the Foothills has been Sierra Madre's brand for a long, long time. Immediately to the East and West we share the same foothills with Arcadia and Pasadena and by comparison you can see how the village appellation fit us but not those two cities. There are residents who don't know that they live in such a different place. Heading off to work and returning at the end of the day you don't have to participate a(t your own peril).

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    2. Participated on many Commission and the GP update. Learned that no matter how hard you try, you cant beat City Hall. This makes me sad.

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  17. Why not just sell off the tennis courts and the community garden, which only 10 people at a time ever use? And they've been using unlimited water at no extra charge there throughout the whole drought.

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    1. 10 people use unlimited water? Explains the kodiaks.

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    2. i had a garden plot for several years. was like an oasis. all for $60 per year. prices a little higher now

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  18. Why since the last General Plan update in 1996 was the Mandatory Water Conservation Plan not followed? In it's place the council voted for bond debths.

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    1. You missed the 2011-2015 General Plan update activities. Look on line and see what went on and the results.

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  19. The Gardner's pay a rental fee to the city which is deposited into the General Fund. This covers the land for growing and water usage. The percentages are broken down in the bylaw of payment owed for Community-based programs under Gardening.

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    1. there are a few squatters in the garden because the city is lax at collecting fees.

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  20. Someone asked yesterday if anyone saw Dunkirk. I saw it today. Amazing. I know times are different but I can't see Europe or America ever rising to this kind of challenge. That is really sad.

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    1. Pre-war Britain had its treason class as well. Notable members of the aristocracy adored Hitler, and were all for appeasing the miserable bastard. Kind of the way Trump and his useful idiots can't love Putin enough. Don't sell the American people short. There are still true patriots here.

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    2. America has the same treasonous aristocracy. Like the Bush family, and the Trumps. they've been selling america short for decades.

      meanwhile - the british had conquered and economically enslaved half the world - they were little different than the germans

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    3. The actor Mark Rylance said, "There’s such worship of the individual now in both England and America, but when terrible things do happen — as have been happening in England, unfortunately, over the last few months — we’ve seen extraordinary, extraordinary bravery not only from civilians, but from the firemen and ambulance men and policemen. The tyrants of the world like to convince other people that there’s no point to even voting or struggling at all, that there’s nothing you can do about it. But actually, you can."

      Most people are good.

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    4. People are inherently neutral- it's all about survival in a Darwinian sense.

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  21. What do you mean, "Europe or America ever rising to this kind of challenge?"
    Do you mean, no more Wars?
    America entered into war, only after Europe was being over run and invaded.
    Yes, wars are very sad.
    Only mankind wages war

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    1. america was clever- let the russians take all the damage for years, then we waltz in and scoop up the resources

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    2. Nasty little fascist backwater. To hell with them.

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  22. One thing that's always bugged me - Rob Stockly was supposed to be such a good banker, everyone deferred to his financial know-how; wasn't he on the council when they went for the interest free option?

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    1. All those bloody fools thought the city would make a tax killing after the DSP went through. There would be money to pay down their 2003 water bonds and then some. Those bonds being used to pay for the water storage infrastructure needed to support all of that new downtown development they wanted. After Measure V killed all that happy idiocy off they no longer had the money to pay for those water bonds. So they did the usual city hall thing and kicked the can all the way to 2019. Interest only payments from 2003 to 2018, and then the rest until 2035. This all would have come out in a forensic audit. Sierra Madre's crime of the century.

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    2. They also expected a hefty chunk from selling off the hillsides at One Carter and Stonehouse.
      There is no way to make those responsible pay for their greed. Damn!
      I hope the new city manager reads the Tattler today - there's lots of good information here.

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