San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor San Carlos faces painful budget decisions… | The White Oaks Blog
Living in San Carlos May 12, 2009

San Carlos faces painful budget decisions…

by Chuck Gillooley

(Update)

5/14/09 – After two nights of community meetings, the City Council seems inclined to pushing a tax increase as a key element of closing the budget gap.   For more details, click on this article in the Daily Journal:  San Carlos Tries Selling Tax to Residents.

Goal:  Fix the $2.7M Shortfall

The City Council of San Carlos met yesterday evening to discuss how to close the nearly $2.7M gap in the current city budget.  Ideas that are being considered include deep cuts in city services (including possible reductions in fire and police services) as well as possibly instituting some sort of sales or utility tax that could be voted on as early as July of this year.   Michelle Durand of the Daily Journal published a nice summary of this meeting:  Tough Budget Decisions Before City.

Public Input Sought

Before making some tough, and possibly unpopular decisions, the City Council is seeking input from the residents of San Carlos.  They have provided two ways to make your thoughts known.   The first is to complete an online survey on the City of San Carlos website.   Click here for the link:  City of San Carlos Budget Survey.

The second way to voice your opinion is to attend one of the two community meetings that the Council will be hosting, the first of which is tonight.  Here are the details:

communitymtg

The Real Deal

Some of the City services that are slated for additional cuts are already running on fumes.  It concerns me greatly that cuts are being considered to our fire and police departments, which are already running woefully thin on resources.  No matter how this gap is ultimately closed, I expect we’re going to see some significant changes in San Carlos that we haven’t seen in decades.

What are your thoughts on how best to close this gap?  Cut services, or raise taxes?

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Comments 5
  • The San Carlos Mothers Club email list is full of nanny references right now as families have one parent who gets laid off, a salaray cut, or reduced hours. In bad economic times, we all have to cut back. We make do with less and we stretch our dollars more. It’s terrible and we all hate doing it, but we do.

    It would be nice to have the City have the same level of responsibility as the families of San Carlos. We’ll have less service – just like the family cutting back lets the nanny go and has less childcare service – but the City will just make a bad problem worse if they keep avoiding the hard decisions and pretending they can just raise revenue every time they need to.

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  • Chuck
    I totally agree with J!
    I think at some point all government agencies need to become more efficient and economical. It is always easier to spend someone else’s money than your own. The people in government positions spend our money not their money. There is a built-in bias for government employess and elected officials to continually increase the size of their staffs and payroll. I respect all employees in the police and fire departments – they do a tough but vital job in protecting us. But as it sits now most police and fire department employees (and I imagine most government employees) retire at what 90% to 95% of their current salary after what 25 years of service. So effectively when one police officer or fireman/woman retires, another needs to be hired. So the retired employee continues to receive almost full salary while the city pays the replacement employee. So the cost to the City continually increases – how can any city pay that? It is like the number of police, fireman/woman, and other government employess never stays the same but continually increases. So every year the cost of paying current employess and paying retirement benefits to retired employees just keeps going up and up. So say San Carlos has 50 police officers currently on the force, there are probably another 50 to 100 receiving retirement benefits nearly equal to their salary.
    It just doesn’t work – Again nothing against any individual police or fireman.
    It is the same thing with social security – how can fewer and fewer workers support more and more reitriees? They can’t.
    We are rapidly approaching a time in our nation where the number of people receiving money from the government is becoming larger than the number of people sending money to government thru taxes etc. It just won’t work!

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  • I work in the private sector and we have all made sacrifices during these tough economic times. Many companies have been able to effectively reduce the number of employees being laid off by placing freezes on salary increases and some instance taking pay cuts. We are all sacrificing a little in order minimize lay offs.

    I would also suggest that City officials make the same sacrifices. All I see in their proposed budget is potentially laying off current employees and cutting services. Many City employees (e.g. maintenance crews) already have inflated salaries for the type of work they do or don’t do. I realize that City employees are now going to be asked to share in the cost of future medical premium increases. Employees in the private sector have been doing this for years so this is not an undue burden that is being asked of them.

    So, this is what I suggest:
    1. make some necessary cuts as listed in their proposed budget;
    2. yes, we do need that have some kind of tax implemented…it’s time to pay the piper and;
    3. all city employees (maybe except for essential services such as police, fire and teachers) take a certain percentage pay cut evenly across the board in order to avoid having to lay off employees and as a result we may be able to minimize the reduction of services. What’s a little sacrifice to help out our fellow human beings.

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  • Personally, I have a hard time with people who spend their employer’s money differently than their own, whether government or private sector employees. Those irresponsible employees should be dealt with and either taught to do more with less or eliminated and replaced with an employee of better character and responsibility.

    I travel for work and am “entrusted” by my employer to spend responsibly. I spend my employer’s travel budget as if it is my own.

    In government, it has clearly been the norm to not only spend freely when not monitored but to expect more in the way of benefits and retirement than private sector employees. It’s time to shift this mentality.

    I am aware of no law on the books guaranteeing above average compensation and benefits for government employees vs. private sector employees. In these challenging economic times, no person should be immune from pay cuts, layoffs and budgetary compromises. Just because we’ve “always had it” does not mean we should continue to keep it.

    Due to the past few years (I did lose a job for 4 months) I have learned to live in a more cautious way and am more prepared to respond to reductions in income…our government agencies must do the same.

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  • The city needs to open up contract talks with all of their unions to reduce salaries, benefits and retirement. Many other cities and local governments have already done so. This will help the city maintain services while reducing costs. The city needs to reduce management level positions as well – over the years they have added “director” level positions at the same they have been eliminating “staff” positions. The city needs to be realistic that a tax increase, of any kind, will not pass.

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