Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chula Vista Budget Deficit Part II

Okay, the City Council had two "workshops" to talk about the $8.4 million budget shortfall. Oh, wait it went up another $800,000 last week, so make that a $9.2 million shortfall.

It seems there was a plan from the start to lay-off people and open union contracts, then really find possible waste, duplication of services, non-priority projects, obsolete programs or cuts to unneeded spending in addressing the budget shortfall.

If you disagree, then look at what recently happen:
The Council put on two "workshops" and I use the term workshop very lightly. The public had very little comment, was never provided much information (just look at the City's website), not all the department directors placed realistic cost savings on the chopping block and most of the deep cuts were coming from bodies. There was not one request to delay a single improvement project for 6 months to close the shortfall and no large budget item was proposed in cuts, except in laying off people. Interesting, the business community made no stink of any cuts, except for the City not cutting its party planner???

During the middle of the last "workshop" the Council had voted to eliminate almost enough spending to address the shortfall and could have gone a little further to not lay-off real people. However, the NEW city manager jumped from his chair, like someone lite a match under his foot, to ask the Council to stop anymore from talks of more budget cuts. Here comes the best part - Deputy Mayor Jerry Rindone asked to continue with cuts, but Mayor Cheryl Cox asked for a recess. During the recess the Mayor and Deputy Mayor huddles. Coming back from the recess, both Councilmembers Rudy Ramirez and Steve Castaneda voted to continue, but strangely Deputy Mayor Rindone voted with the Mayor not to continue on with the workshop. Remember, these workshops were only to help the Council learn more about the cuts and not to make the cuts. I guess Deputy Mayor Rindone wasn't given the whole playbook from the start.

Lastly, it seems to me the only councilmembers to get what is going on and asked questions of the city managers were Rudy Ramirez and Steve Castaneda.

I think the City and the City Council needs to step back, address this shortfall and include everyone in the process having an open mind and without a playbook.

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