There was a council meeting last night. The finance reports were buried until the end as per usual. The good news is we ended the year with 1.3 million on the books. Some will say we had a surplus of over 2 million but over one million of that had to be written off due to losing a lawsuit. The actual fund balance number is the one that counts and that is 1.3 million. The Council congratulated themselves and the staff.
The transfer tax received was OVER estimates by 1.7 million. The entire surplus was created by an unsustainably strong housing market. If that had not happened we would have been in the red once again. But yes let’s congratulate the staff on that.
The state auditor updated their dashboard. El Cerrito remains the #6 worst city in the state financially but our overall points declined from 36.32 to 35.76 out of 100.
If you dig deeper into the El Cerrito numbers you will see nothing positive and the pension issues are horrific. We are the worst city in the state for future pension costs.
If you look at the required contributions (above) for 27/28 versus the budget you will see that 20% of the budget would be utilized for that.
If you compare the prior year to this year you will see
2020 Actuarially Determined Pension Contributions $7,194,477
2019 Actuarially Determined Pension Contributions $6,351,717
2020 Accrued Pension Liabilities $214,921,896
2019 Accrued Pension Liabilities $203,153,960
El Cerrito does not acknowledge the fiscal trouble we are still in. Instead the public got to listen to another diatribe from Council Person Quinto who said that those not supportive of the route the city is taking are liars, mean-spirited and partisan. (at 3:56 in the meeting video). He focused on staff costs and insists they are not to high and the public needs to look at Betty Yee’s website for proof. Regardless of whether the city staff is overpaid or not the city is still in terrible financial shape and Council Person Quinto and the Finance Director instead of addressing this use every opportunity to portray those disagreeing as horrible people. It is tone policing at its finest. Say something critical about the Council or Staff and be told you are making personal attacks.
I ask Council Person Quinto if we are liars why do the State Auditor’s reports bear us out?
I ask the other Council Members why they continue to allow Quinto’s attacks to go without comment? He gets to say whatever he wants as his free speech right but is attacking the public the route to take? Silence implies agreement.
Council Person Motoyama joined in the praise but also said there needed to be sustainable changes and we needed to see the 5-10 year projections. Remember the last attempt at that? I do. It showed us with no adequate reserve quickly. Make no mistake without the federal bailout we would be in grave danger right now.
Next week will be another performative meeting where Management Partners makes the suggestions they are told to make by city management. It is a follow-up to the town hall a few months back. It is August 31st at 4 pm. Seems to me not a great time to be accessible to the working public.
Just a reminder 2022 is coming fast. Two seats will be up for election then. That includes Council Person Quinto’s seat. That man who calls the public liars. This is our opportunity to change the membership of the council to gain a third vote for fiscal responsibility. If you are thinking of running I encourage you to do so!