Thursday, May 18, 2017

Water Bomb: Something Did Happen At The Last Sierra Madre City Council Meeting

Mod: I am not sure anyone was paying much attention to the last City Council meeting. There wasn't any comment about it here. But one resident was watching closer than most, and wrote in with the following observations.

I just caught the end of the rerun for the May 9 council meeting. They were discussing the last item of the night...the budget. Apparently, the city has been losing a lot of money to water leaks. They lost 29% of their water in 2015, and they lost another 21% in 2016. All due to leaks. This question was asked many times in the past, and only know is it being answered.

The new City Manager is recommending that money from the General Fund be used to help pay off the water bond debt. I am not sure if he meant General Fund or General Fund reserves. He said Marcie wants the money taken out of some water fund. Who is Marcie?

Here's a strange thing:  The city is NOT recommending a tax increase in 2017-2018. (Is this a trick statement? There is no election in 2017.) Or are they really going to forfeit the rumored parcel tax? Maybe they decided a water rate increase is a better idea. It's easier to pass a Prop 218 measure than it would be a parcel tax, which would require a full 2/3s of the vote to pass.

Capoccia was stressed. Arizmendi said the report was "sobering." I think she said we need to find money for infrastructure.  I realize I came in late watching this, but...isn't that what the 2011 and 2014 water rate increases were supposed to cover?  Infrastructure? How many years are they going to cry wolf and not fix the pipes??

Now that I look back, I remember seeing Barbara Leigh ask a question from the podium at this May 9 meeting. I think I was watching it live. She asked how much was left on the water debt and Arizmendi told her to stay tuned. (It would be included in the budget item later that evening.) While watching the rerun tonight, I didn't hear the magic number but I'll bet I would have if I had tuned in earlier.

Mod: There might be a silver lining to this dark cloud. It would appear that the city might actually be ready to admit that the millions of dollars in remaining water bond debt really is the reason for raising water rates here for the third time in the last seven years. I posted about this debt on May 8, and you can link to that bit of news by clicking here. And yes, the magic number is there. Actually, there is a whole lot of them.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

33 comments:

  1. Trolls get trumped again!

    Trump calls himself a politician in his own tweet this morning. All those fools who thought he was an outsider..

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    1. It is unbecoming for a president to whine like that. Sad.

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    2. Trump awards himself a new trophy for victimhood
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/05/18/trump-awards-himself-a-new-trophy-for-victimhood/

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  2. After a year of Gene Goss as mayor it might be hard to adjust to a city council that talks about real issues again.

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  3. That's why it was the LAST item on the agenda. They hoped no one would see it.

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    1. Why do they want to keep this hidden? They will need our help to fix it.

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    2. Our help?, if they cared they would have placed all the numbers on the table from the beginning. No, they hid the information and kicked the can down the road primarily by only paying only the interest. Now a ğŸŽˆpayment is coming. Please know that City Hall always places the agenda item that they don't want you to see at the end of the meeting. Usually it is late at night when most have gone home. Another time they slip items through their agenda is through the Consent Calendar, the last meeting before August vacation, and before the Christmas break.

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  4. Get ready for another Moody's water department bond rating. They usually show up right around the time the city wants to raise water rates.

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  5. The City of Sierra Madre has been BK for years.They just never admitteded the obvious. Sound familiar ?

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  6. The City's water debt is expensive and threatens our credit rating. Paying it down and/or refinancing it would reduce interest costs and put the City on a sounder financial footing. Why is that so hard for the CC to admit?

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    1. Because they screwed up, and City hall never admits it is wrong.May 18, 2017 at 8:16 AM

      "What happened is the City of Sierra Madre, and for whatever the reason (I like the "Failed DSP Theory" myself), rustled itself up around $6 million dollars from water bond sales back in 2003-2004 so they could build some big water tanks and other related stuff. There was also a matching Federal grant of some sort, which I guess was nice and all. But the temptation of all that free money did cause these golden oldie Mayors to make one quite colossal financial mistake. The consequences of which are about to fall upon the water ratepayers of 2017 ... In short, these daft duffers decided it was really good fiscal policy to make only interest payments on their water bonds. Not one single dollar has ever been spent to pay down the principle. Think of this as only making the minimum payments on your credit card debt, and for the next decade and a half. Eventually you will end up having to pay a lot more money than was actually necessary ..." - Tattler

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  7. Can we ever get this paid off?

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  8. 2018... The taxpayers will be able to vote to repeal the UUT. This only seems to be a fair and senceable thing to do. City hall never has, and must get it's spending under control.

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    1. Yes Bankrupting the City "seems to be a fair and sensable thing to do"
      Then I'll cut of my nose to spite my face. Gotta follow the will of the electorate the UUT will never be repealed unless we go to a parcel tax that would be worse some people like our city.

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    2. The city is already bankrupt. Stitch your nose back on.

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  9. Bruce and Elaine never would fess up about how much the city was losing. Instead they fined us for not conserving. There was no way in hell that the people who did not meet their allotment were responsible for 29% of the city's water usage. Sad thing is all the council members drank the koolade.

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    1. When water use fines were first being discussed City Hall denied that leaks were significant enough to have an effect. So is that no longer true?

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    2. I'm wondering if it was true at the time but City Hall was not truthful. Poor City Crews are all over the map repairing leaks all around Sierra Madre.

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    3. Like putting band aids on roadkill.

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    4. Problem is that they redo the same leak several times over.

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  10. lost 29% of water in 2015, and lost 21% in 2016. What is actually lost in $$$? If it is a commodity that the city owns to they pay themselves for the loss or write it off. Leaks plus all the flushing of lines for discolored water (forget when that was being done--2015 or earlier?).

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    1. But remember it's our fault.

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    2. Yup 1:42 so is comrade Trump,we could have done more but are complacent,we post anon. comments and whine on a local blog. More than many folk but not enough.

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    3. Oh look. 4:49 wants to be your mommy.

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  11. 9:07, so true. THEN, they made the entire city drink that same yellow Cool-Aid. The stuff was so bad that it ate up the plumbing it came in contact with and turned our shower curtains rust color. Lets hope the new city manager will bring a fresh approach to these problems.

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    1. Heard from a very GOOD source at City Hall that the new manager has quite a few things to say about both and Bruce and Elaine. None of it good.

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    2. Hopefully the new guy is more open and honest.

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    3. It is a low threshold.

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  12. Toby Keith performing at a "men only concert" in Saudi? Yummy and fabulous!

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    1. Hah! What a hilarious image that is.

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    2. Two types of people in America- regular folk who just go about their lives, and money pandering zealots

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  13. Trolls get trumped again!

    Trump says career politician his top choice to head FBI.

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  14. An Idiot Abroad

    http://www.newsweek.com/trump-cance...after-israel-blocks-helicopter-landing-611287

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