The State Auditor released its latest report earlier this week (Link to post) and scroll to the article. El Cerrito has improved seven spots from the 6th worst-run city to the 13th worst-run city. That means 417 California cities are better managed than El Cerrito.
Yet some council members are patting themselves on the back. Councilmember Tessa seems ready to bring out the champagne.
Tessa said,”…I’m not naïve enough to think that any City could move between High Risk and Low Risk from one fiscal year to the other. Moving into the Moderate Risk category is an important milestone and achievement….” Don’t be fooled. El Cerrito is a mere three positions from the bottom 10 – and back on the watch list.
These pictures are meant to deceive you. The 13th designation IS NOT a good number because #1 is the WORST performing city.
Councilmember Motoyama was considerably more reserved in her post but also claimed success.
The truth is that only the bottom 10, or 2.3% of the state, is on the watch list. Technically, the City is off the watch list, but the city is far from danger. El Cerrito is the 13th worst-run city in California.
Although these council members pat each other on the back, the City continues to have a fiscal crisis.
First, the city balanced the budget on the backs of the residents. The ARPA funding of $6 million was intended to help small businesses, help residents impacted by COVID with assistance such as subsidizing rent or otherwise utilized for the community. For example, Berkeley set aside $1.5 million for electrifying low-income homes using prevailing wage labor, funds for tenant rent relief, and grants to small businesses and arts organizations. But El Cerrito residents GOT NOTHING.
City Staff and Council Members refuse to admit that the ARPA funding fully funded any financial improvement (and all the reserves). To compound the issue, the City produced overly optimistic projections for the Transfer Tax (Measure V). According to more recent calculations, the City overestimated the revenue by at least a MILLION dollars – maybe more.
The City has $500,000 of planned expenses not included in the “official” budget, but the City Manager intends to bring those items back to the board mid-year. Also, the City has not made any structural changes to the budget, so it could easily tap into the meager reserves.
Each of these tactics was intended to deceive you. The Council hoped you would not notice until after the election, but the finances remain in crisis.
The council members are claiming success, but the number is 417– the number of California cities better managed than El Cerrito. While the council members drink champagne, 97% of California cities are better managed than El Cerrito.
The election is just around the corner. Vote as an educated person in November.
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