Will the Community Fight For Fiscal Responsibility-El Cerrito Budget Update Part 2

This is part two of three of the Fall update on what has been happening with the city budget. Today we cover the Ad-Hoc Committee report which includes the report sent to the State Auditor (click the link below)

City Council Financial Ad-Hoc Committee Update– Presented by Council Person Rudnick and Motoyama at the Meeting on September 21, 2021. There was an Ad-Hoc Committee formed with these two councilpersons working with city staff on preparing the response to the State Auditor Report. Councilperson Rudnick spoke some about their process and meetings and then Councilperson Motoyama stated that they had provided direction on budget updates moving forward. Updates should include actionable information, be provided quarterly to get fuller pictures, and have 5 and 10-year forecasts, and break down the budget department by department.

During the meeting, Mayor Fadelli asked will we get a response back? Karen Pinkos said yes that is anticipated. She stated that they are still working on the Fiscal Sustainability Plan which the council will need to approve. She believes they will be removed from the list.

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As of the date of this blog post, the State Auditor has made no public online response to the response sent last month. I think it is highly unlikely we would be removed from the list as if you look at the high-risk dashboard above we have addressed only Fund Balance. We now have a few million dollar reserve. There has been no action on any of the pension issues. In fact in that area of the report, it says

“The City Council has directed City staff to establish a Section 115 Trust. Staff is now researching vendors and a recommended funding policy for the City Council’s consideration. Financial policies are also slated to be discussed by the City’s Financial Advisory Board in the coming months.

The action once again is research. They have been cancelling FAB meetings due to staffing issues (covered tomorrow) and are delaying the filling of the open position on FAB.

Frankly, I found a few other responses in that report less than satisfactory. On page 2 they mention there will be a 4 million dollar reserve meeting our 10% goal. This is disingenuous because looking at the true policies we are also required to have an additional emergency reserve and the recommended reserve for a city our size is 17 million. That number was referenced in part one of this article which covered the Fiscal Sustainability Plan.

It is important that the community continue to follow these reports and if the state auditor posts responses to them.

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