I get it. We are all at home trying to do our best and survive this crisis. The last thing people want to be thinking about is local politics. However, this national crisis has only exacerbated what was already a VERY BAD situation in El Cerrito. So action needs to be taken. El Cerrito faces bankruptcy, but council is planning on putting off any action until September
In October when the state auditor said El Cerrito was one of the most at-risk cities, El Cerrito had no financial reserves and no plans to remedy the situation.
Now that we are facing an imminent recession El Cerrito is at serious risk of going bankrupt. The council still has no meaningful plans and has taken no significant actions to improve the city’s financial condition. At the most recent meeting on March 25, 2020, there was talk about putting off any budget actions until September. Which is a quarter into the next fiscal year. Further delays only worsen the crisis.
A bankruptcy may mean that staff will lose pension benefits.
Forced reductions in public safety could mean higher insurance costs for homeowners.
Bankruptcy will surely make things much worse for many El Cerrito community members.
On Tuesday, April 7 the council will begin to discuss the budget but is not planning on taking any action for many, many months. Maybe not until September.
You can submit testimony by emailing the city clerk, at email@example.com. Your email must contain in the subject line public comments –not on the agenda or public comments –agenda item #. The City Clerk will read your comments at the meeting. Please try to keep your message below two minutes. It is important that the comments be read into the record rather than just emailing the council. This creates a record of community concern.
You can also comment via voicemail at (510) 306-2558. The caller must start the message by stating public comments –not on the agenda or public comments –agenda item #followed by their name and place of residence, followed by their comments
A sample message might be:
The state auditor, the independent auditor, and the Standard and Poor’s financial analyst all agree that El Cerrito is in financial peril. It is imperative that the city act now to reduce costs. With City Hall closed, now is the right time to reduce staff size and require the remaining staff to take pay cuts down to the levels of their 2016 compensation. Employee compensation has increased by $4 million per year over the past two years. If staff will not willingly share in the burden caused by poor council decisions for many, many years, then additional people will need to be laid off. Waiting until September as suggested by the Mayor will only deepen the crisis. It is time to act!
Link to most recent meeting on March 25th is below.
For the April 7th meeting members of the public will not be able to participate directly through the teleconference platform but can watch or listen to the meeting in the following ways:
Broadcast on KCRT Channel 8 or AT&T Uverse Channel 992.
Radio Broadcast on FM 88.1 Or 97.73.
Livestream Online At www.el-cerrito.org/CouncilMeetingMaterials