Council Candidates Differ on City Budget and Fiscal Situation

To their credit the Davis Enterprise is running a series of questions and answers from the city council candidates. They limit the responses to 100 words each but print the responses verbatim. This is a good way for the public to get a sense about where the candidates sit on seven topics.

Aside from the issue of growth, one of the more interesting points of divide is on the budget.

The claim made by Stephen Souza, Don Saylor, and Sydney Vergis is largely that the budget is balanced, we have a 15% reserve. We have unmet needs though in the future that will require additional taxes. They would also like to expand the economic base of the city.

The claim raised by Sue Greenwald, Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald (my wife) and Rob Roy is that unmet needs constitute part of the budget deficit.

Sue Greenwald raised the point that the problem is more on the expenditure side than the revenue side.

“Our revenues have increased a healthy 60 percent in seven years. Our problem is that expenditures have risen faster.”

For her the solution is:

“We should emphasize controlling expenses by phasing in certain large capital improvement projects and controlling salary/benefit costs of management and highest-paid employees.”

Cecilia is also concerned about placing much of the burden on the tax and ratepayers of Davis.

“Davis residents face several new taxes in the future on top of large rate hikes for water. The voters just approved new parcel taxes for the library and the schools. With the schools facing a budget crisis, voters may have to approve another parcel tax. We need to look toward other ways to balance our budget.”

Everyone would like to see additional revenues. It is not even clear that six candidates differ that much on the type of revenue. For example, although Don Saylor supported Target, he has said at candidate’s forums that he thinks that is sufficient to meet the retail needs of the city.

On the other hand, and more problematically, Mr. Saylor has suggested that there are “long-term labor contracts in place.” In fact, nearly all of the labor contracts expire next year including the fire contract. His statement is simply untrue.

At the recent meeting as cited in the Davis Enterprise:

“Labor negotiations will reopen during the 2009-10 fiscal year, [City Budget Director Paul]Navazio said”

Conversations during the budget meeting last week, underscore the very tenuous nature of the “balanced” budget claims.

“The city funded benefits under a pay-as-you-go method until last fiscal year, when it added an extra $500,000 to the payment. To fully fund the program, which would save millions in the long run, the city would have to pay in about $4 million per year, Navazio said.

‘Given the level of benefits and the cost of benefits, we need to be setting aside 6 percent of our employee salaries, and that percentage is pretty high compared to other cities,’ Navazio said. ‘That’s also a reflection of the city’s benefits, which are pretty high, and how that’s packaged.’

‘We have got to find the means to fund that,’ Councilman Stephen Souza said.

‘We are fully intending to deal with it, we’re just not dealing with it fully in this fiscal year,’ Navazio said.”

We have balanced the budget on paper. However, the amount of unmet needs faced by this city is growing. We are talking about things that really need to be done. We simply lack the revenue to do them. Moreover, the employee benefit system looks like a train wreck waiting to happen.

As Sue Greenwald remarked at the meeting the other night:

“We’re not in better shape than we’ve been in years. That’s just not true. We are locked into a 3% at 50 retirement for the next 70 years for public safety employees and now 2.5% at 55, early retirement for all miscellaneous employees. That’s got to affect our longterm budget situation. We have a $42 million post-retirement, unfunded employee retiree health liability. That’s huge. That’s coming due in only 15 or 20 years…”

And once again, the number of taxes and fees that the citizens of Davis will be asked to pick up in the next few years is actually rather staggering.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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72 Comments

  1. Fool me once...etc.

    Souza wants to “talk” about the shape of the Measure J renewal plan AFTER the June election. Saylor and Souza make unfounded fiscal success claims about their record in office but Souza acknowedges that they must “deal” with them in the FUTURE. Both hope that the Davis voters are not really paying attention and can be bamboozled AGAIN… we’ll see soon.

  2. Fool me once...etc.

    Souza wants to “talk” about the shape of the Measure J renewal plan AFTER the June election. Saylor and Souza make unfounded fiscal success claims about their record in office but Souza acknowedges that they must “deal” with them in the FUTURE. Both hope that the Davis voters are not really paying attention and can be bamboozled AGAIN… we’ll see soon.

  3. Fool me once...etc.

    Souza wants to “talk” about the shape of the Measure J renewal plan AFTER the June election. Saylor and Souza make unfounded fiscal success claims about their record in office but Souza acknowedges that they must “deal” with them in the FUTURE. Both hope that the Davis voters are not really paying attention and can be bamboozled AGAIN… we’ll see soon.

  4. Fool me once...etc.

    Souza wants to “talk” about the shape of the Measure J renewal plan AFTER the June election. Saylor and Souza make unfounded fiscal success claims about their record in office but Souza acknowedges that they must “deal” with them in the FUTURE. Both hope that the Davis voters are not really paying attention and can be bamboozled AGAIN… we’ll see soon.

  5. Anonymous

    I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…

  6. Anonymous

    I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…

  7. Anonymous

    I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…

  8. Anonymous

    I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…

  9. Mike

    Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.

  10. Mike

    Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.

  11. Mike

    Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.

  12. Mike

    Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.

  13. For More Responsible Govt

    “‘We are fully intending to deal with it, we’re just not dealing with it fully in this fiscal year,’ Navazio said.”

    DPD: “We have [only] balanced the budget on paper.”

    To not include unmet needs in the current budget is disingenuous at best, dishonest and misleading at worst. What is Navazio saying, that when the unmet needs come due, the city may or may not deal with unmet needs fully in that fiscal year? (Wonder how Navazio would feel if his own salary is not fully dealt with when it comes due each month, depending on whatever whims of the budgetary process conveniently come into play?)

    If the city considers the unmet needs a fiscal responsibility to fund, then it needs to include it in its budget, PERIOD. To do anything else is just engaging in “creative bookkeeping”. One has to ask why Navazio is doing such an unscrupulous thing (and why is he being allowed to get away with it). Obviously to protect his high salary and the reputation of those incumbent Councilmembers who voted for the huge salaries for city employees.

    And not just huge salaries for firefighters, I might add. Parks and Rec upper echelon employees are making in the neighborhood of $130,000 to $160,000 – just about as much as firefighters, yet they do not face any dangers like firefighters do. What responsible Councilmember in their right mind would have OKed such ridiculous compensation packages for city employees, knowing (or should have known) the city could not afford it? This is a disgrace.

    However, it should be noted that employee negotiations take place behind closed doors. Is there any way we can stop that practice? To the Davis Enterprise’s credit, this was mentioned as a contributing cause in Vallejo’s need to declare bankruptcy. If the public had been made aware of how much Vallejo was proposing to pay its employees, I suspect the alarm would have been raised…loud and long that the city could not afford such overly generous compensation.

    What has happened in Vallejo could happen here. The Davis city employees may find themselves bargained right out of their overly generous compensation packages, just as is happening in Vallejo. Vallejo firefighters and police are now offering to take pay cuts, forgoing benefits and pay raises – something that should have happened long ago. City officials are turning a deaf ear as too little, too late. Davis city employees should pay heed, especially as they renegotiate their contracts again.

    Davis City Councilmembers should take heed as well, that its citizens are now paying closer attention to the fiscal health of the city – even if its chief financial officer Navazio isn’t. IMHO, the guy should be fired for incompetence and self dealing.

  14. For More Responsible Govt

    “‘We are fully intending to deal with it, we’re just not dealing with it fully in this fiscal year,’ Navazio said.”

    DPD: “We have [only] balanced the budget on paper.”

    To not include unmet needs in the current budget is disingenuous at best, dishonest and misleading at worst. What is Navazio saying, that when the unmet needs come due, the city may or may not deal with unmet needs fully in that fiscal year? (Wonder how Navazio would feel if his own salary is not fully dealt with when it comes due each month, depending on whatever whims of the budgetary process conveniently come into play?)

    If the city considers the unmet needs a fiscal responsibility to fund, then it needs to include it in its budget, PERIOD. To do anything else is just engaging in “creative bookkeeping”. One has to ask why Navazio is doing such an unscrupulous thing (and why is he being allowed to get away with it). Obviously to protect his high salary and the reputation of those incumbent Councilmembers who voted for the huge salaries for city employees.

    And not just huge salaries for firefighters, I might add. Parks and Rec upper echelon employees are making in the neighborhood of $130,000 to $160,000 – just about as much as firefighters, yet they do not face any dangers like firefighters do. What responsible Councilmember in their right mind would have OKed such ridiculous compensation packages for city employees, knowing (or should have known) the city could not afford it? This is a disgrace.

    However, it should be noted that employee negotiations take place behind closed doors. Is there any way we can stop that practice? To the Davis Enterprise’s credit, this was mentioned as a contributing cause in Vallejo’s need to declare bankruptcy. If the public had been made aware of how much Vallejo was proposing to pay its employees, I suspect the alarm would have been raised…loud and long that the city could not afford such overly generous compensation.

    What has happened in Vallejo could happen here. The Davis city employees may find themselves bargained right out of their overly generous compensation packages, just as is happening in Vallejo. Vallejo firefighters and police are now offering to take pay cuts, forgoing benefits and pay raises – something that should have happened long ago. City officials are turning a deaf ear as too little, too late. Davis city employees should pay heed, especially as they renegotiate their contracts again.

    Davis City Councilmembers should take heed as well, that its citizens are now paying closer attention to the fiscal health of the city – even if its chief financial officer Navazio isn’t. IMHO, the guy should be fired for incompetence and self dealing.

  15. For More Responsible Govt

    “‘We are fully intending to deal with it, we’re just not dealing with it fully in this fiscal year,’ Navazio said.”

    DPD: “We have [only] balanced the budget on paper.”

    To not include unmet needs in the current budget is disingenuous at best, dishonest and misleading at worst. What is Navazio saying, that when the unmet needs come due, the city may or may not deal with unmet needs fully in that fiscal year? (Wonder how Navazio would feel if his own salary is not fully dealt with when it comes due each month, depending on whatever whims of the budgetary process conveniently come into play?)

    If the city considers the unmet needs a fiscal responsibility to fund, then it needs to include it in its budget, PERIOD. To do anything else is just engaging in “creative bookkeeping”. One has to ask why Navazio is doing such an unscrupulous thing (and why is he being allowed to get away with it). Obviously to protect his high salary and the reputation of those incumbent Councilmembers who voted for the huge salaries for city employees.

    And not just huge salaries for firefighters, I might add. Parks and Rec upper echelon employees are making in the neighborhood of $130,000 to $160,000 – just about as much as firefighters, yet they do not face any dangers like firefighters do. What responsible Councilmember in their right mind would have OKed such ridiculous compensation packages for city employees, knowing (or should have known) the city could not afford it? This is a disgrace.

    However, it should be noted that employee negotiations take place behind closed doors. Is there any way we can stop that practice? To the Davis Enterprise’s credit, this was mentioned as a contributing cause in Vallejo’s need to declare bankruptcy. If the public had been made aware of how much Vallejo was proposing to pay its employees, I suspect the alarm would have been raised…loud and long that the city could not afford such overly generous compensation.

    What has happened in Vallejo could happen here. The Davis city employees may find themselves bargained right out of their overly generous compensation packages, just as is happening in Vallejo. Vallejo firefighters and police are now offering to take pay cuts, forgoing benefits and pay raises – something that should have happened long ago. City officials are turning a deaf ear as too little, too late. Davis city employees should pay heed, especially as they renegotiate their contracts again.

    Davis City Councilmembers should take heed as well, that its citizens are now paying closer attention to the fiscal health of the city – even if its chief financial officer Navazio isn’t. IMHO, the guy should be fired for incompetence and self dealing.

  16. For More Responsible Govt

    “‘We are fully intending to deal with it, we’re just not dealing with it fully in this fiscal year,’ Navazio said.”

    DPD: “We have [only] balanced the budget on paper.”

    To not include unmet needs in the current budget is disingenuous at best, dishonest and misleading at worst. What is Navazio saying, that when the unmet needs come due, the city may or may not deal with unmet needs fully in that fiscal year? (Wonder how Navazio would feel if his own salary is not fully dealt with when it comes due each month, depending on whatever whims of the budgetary process conveniently come into play?)

    If the city considers the unmet needs a fiscal responsibility to fund, then it needs to include it in its budget, PERIOD. To do anything else is just engaging in “creative bookkeeping”. One has to ask why Navazio is doing such an unscrupulous thing (and why is he being allowed to get away with it). Obviously to protect his high salary and the reputation of those incumbent Councilmembers who voted for the huge salaries for city employees.

    And not just huge salaries for firefighters, I might add. Parks and Rec upper echelon employees are making in the neighborhood of $130,000 to $160,000 – just about as much as firefighters, yet they do not face any dangers like firefighters do. What responsible Councilmember in their right mind would have OKed such ridiculous compensation packages for city employees, knowing (or should have known) the city could not afford it? This is a disgrace.

    However, it should be noted that employee negotiations take place behind closed doors. Is there any way we can stop that practice? To the Davis Enterprise’s credit, this was mentioned as a contributing cause in Vallejo’s need to declare bankruptcy. If the public had been made aware of how much Vallejo was proposing to pay its employees, I suspect the alarm would have been raised…loud and long that the city could not afford such overly generous compensation.

    What has happened in Vallejo could happen here. The Davis city employees may find themselves bargained right out of their overly generous compensation packages, just as is happening in Vallejo. Vallejo firefighters and police are now offering to take pay cuts, forgoing benefits and pay raises – something that should have happened long ago. City officials are turning a deaf ear as too little, too late. Davis city employees should pay heed, especially as they renegotiate their contracts again.

    Davis City Councilmembers should take heed as well, that its citizens are now paying closer attention to the fiscal health of the city – even if its chief financial officer Navazio isn’t. IMHO, the guy should be fired for incompetence and self dealing.

  17. Please elaborate

    “One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Anonymous 8:06 am, please elaborate!

  18. Please elaborate

    “One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Anonymous 8:06 am, please elaborate!

  19. Please elaborate

    “One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Anonymous 8:06 am, please elaborate!

  20. Please elaborate

    “One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Anonymous 8:06 am, please elaborate!

  21. My View

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    Because Saylor suffers from a disease known as “diarreah of the mouth”. If you ever notice, he has a tendency to latch on to other people’s ideas, rather than having any of his own. He covers up his inadequacies by droning on incessantly, basicly saying nothing productive. Should you carefully analyze what he says, it is impossible, because there is nothing of substance there. He speaks in generalities, says whatever he thinks will fly at the time for the audience he is in front of…

    To cure this disease, he needs to refrain from speaking all the time, and listen more. Voice an opinion only if he actually has one…in other words he should try more thoughtful contemplation! It would sure result in shorter City Council meetings!

  22. My View

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    Because Saylor suffers from a disease known as “diarreah of the mouth”. If you ever notice, he has a tendency to latch on to other people’s ideas, rather than having any of his own. He covers up his inadequacies by droning on incessantly, basicly saying nothing productive. Should you carefully analyze what he says, it is impossible, because there is nothing of substance there. He speaks in generalities, says whatever he thinks will fly at the time for the audience he is in front of…

    To cure this disease, he needs to refrain from speaking all the time, and listen more. Voice an opinion only if he actually has one…in other words he should try more thoughtful contemplation! It would sure result in shorter City Council meetings!

  23. My View

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    Because Saylor suffers from a disease known as “diarreah of the mouth”. If you ever notice, he has a tendency to latch on to other people’s ideas, rather than having any of his own. He covers up his inadequacies by droning on incessantly, basicly saying nothing productive. Should you carefully analyze what he says, it is impossible, because there is nothing of substance there. He speaks in generalities, says whatever he thinks will fly at the time for the audience he is in front of…

    To cure this disease, he needs to refrain from speaking all the time, and listen more. Voice an opinion only if he actually has one…in other words he should try more thoughtful contemplation! It would sure result in shorter City Council meetings!

  24. My View

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    Because Saylor suffers from a disease known as “diarreah of the mouth”. If you ever notice, he has a tendency to latch on to other people’s ideas, rather than having any of his own. He covers up his inadequacies by droning on incessantly, basicly saying nothing productive. Should you carefully analyze what he says, it is impossible, because there is nothing of substance there. He speaks in generalities, says whatever he thinks will fly at the time for the audience he is in front of…

    To cure this disease, he needs to refrain from speaking all the time, and listen more. Voice an opinion only if he actually has one…in other words he should try more thoughtful contemplation! It would sure result in shorter City Council meetings!

  25. Jeremy

    I agree that the council will probably end up raising taxes to pay for all this in the future… given the amount residents already pay, it’s going to make Davis an extremely expensive place to live. And this is a council that has a goal of being able to house low-income families.

  26. Jeremy

    I agree that the council will probably end up raising taxes to pay for all this in the future… given the amount residents already pay, it’s going to make Davis an extremely expensive place to live. And this is a council that has a goal of being able to house low-income families.

  27. Jeremy

    I agree that the council will probably end up raising taxes to pay for all this in the future… given the amount residents already pay, it’s going to make Davis an extremely expensive place to live. And this is a council that has a goal of being able to house low-income families.

  28. Jeremy

    I agree that the council will probably end up raising taxes to pay for all this in the future… given the amount residents already pay, it’s going to make Davis an extremely expensive place to live. And this is a council that has a goal of being able to house low-income families.

  29. Anonymous

    I had a job with this city until 8/2000…who here wants to know the percentage increase in pay for that position now AND how much more the benefit package has grown in only 8 years??? WE don’t even know(yet!) how badly we are being hosed by these people. Soon, you will know. Oh, and before WE get too comfy here in LaLaVille, the contract with the PD expires in June of 2010. Get ready, they will be shooting(pun) for another 20%(at least!) raise over the life of the new contract. It’s time for some folks to truly represent US and not be nice folks and give away the store.

  30. Anonymous

    I had a job with this city until 8/2000…who here wants to know the percentage increase in pay for that position now AND how much more the benefit package has grown in only 8 years??? WE don’t even know(yet!) how badly we are being hosed by these people. Soon, you will know. Oh, and before WE get too comfy here in LaLaVille, the contract with the PD expires in June of 2010. Get ready, they will be shooting(pun) for another 20%(at least!) raise over the life of the new contract. It’s time for some folks to truly represent US and not be nice folks and give away the store.

  31. Anonymous

    I had a job with this city until 8/2000…who here wants to know the percentage increase in pay for that position now AND how much more the benefit package has grown in only 8 years??? WE don’t even know(yet!) how badly we are being hosed by these people. Soon, you will know. Oh, and before WE get too comfy here in LaLaVille, the contract with the PD expires in June of 2010. Get ready, they will be shooting(pun) for another 20%(at least!) raise over the life of the new contract. It’s time for some folks to truly represent US and not be nice folks and give away the store.

  32. Anonymous

    I had a job with this city until 8/2000…who here wants to know the percentage increase in pay for that position now AND how much more the benefit package has grown in only 8 years??? WE don’t even know(yet!) how badly we are being hosed by these people. Soon, you will know. Oh, and before WE get too comfy here in LaLaVille, the contract with the PD expires in June of 2010. Get ready, they will be shooting(pun) for another 20%(at least!) raise over the life of the new contract. It’s time for some folks to truly represent US and not be nice folks and give away the store.

  33. Sue Greenwald

    As to claims of long-term contracts, as I told David, according to our city manager, our department heads’ contract expires in about two weeks, and all other contracts except police expire next July.

    That would mean that negotiations would start in a few months.

    I’ll re-check the time schedule today, but I think we will start negotiations in a few months. It was certainly misleading of Don to say that we are “in long term contracts with labor” — and this statement was not off the cuff, we had weeks to prepare these short written comments.

    The continual false refrain that eveything is rosy is the line that the firefighter representives use to justify higher and higher compensation packages.

    The firefighters came back with another demand this year to increase the rank of four fire fighers to that of battalion chiefs, the total compensation of these positions which would have been about $200,000, not counting overtime.

    This proposal would gave cost the city $400,000 a year more, without adding a single firefighter.

    And remember, the nine firefighters can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

    Even with all the accounting tricks such as cost-shifting, one time bridge money and placing essential services and obligations in other funds with structural deficits or labeling many essential servieds as “unmet needs”, it still would have been hard to balance the “budget” if this fire figher rank upgrade had passed.

    I argued and voted against this pay grade increase. Lemar voted with me. Saylor and Souza voted for it. Ruth was the swing vote.

    She wavered for a long time, and then joined me and Lamar in voting against it, but she added that she would probably vote for it when it came back. This issue has not gone away.

  34. Sue Greenwald

    As to claims of long-term contracts, as I told David, according to our city manager, our department heads’ contract expires in about two weeks, and all other contracts except police expire next July.

    That would mean that negotiations would start in a few months.

    I’ll re-check the time schedule today, but I think we will start negotiations in a few months. It was certainly misleading of Don to say that we are “in long term contracts with labor” — and this statement was not off the cuff, we had weeks to prepare these short written comments.

    The continual false refrain that eveything is rosy is the line that the firefighter representives use to justify higher and higher compensation packages.

    The firefighters came back with another demand this year to increase the rank of four fire fighers to that of battalion chiefs, the total compensation of these positions which would have been about $200,000, not counting overtime.

    This proposal would gave cost the city $400,000 a year more, without adding a single firefighter.

    And remember, the nine firefighters can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

    Even with all the accounting tricks such as cost-shifting, one time bridge money and placing essential services and obligations in other funds with structural deficits or labeling many essential servieds as “unmet needs”, it still would have been hard to balance the “budget” if this fire figher rank upgrade had passed.

    I argued and voted against this pay grade increase. Lemar voted with me. Saylor and Souza voted for it. Ruth was the swing vote.

    She wavered for a long time, and then joined me and Lamar in voting against it, but she added that she would probably vote for it when it came back. This issue has not gone away.

  35. Sue Greenwald

    As to claims of long-term contracts, as I told David, according to our city manager, our department heads’ contract expires in about two weeks, and all other contracts except police expire next July.

    That would mean that negotiations would start in a few months.

    I’ll re-check the time schedule today, but I think we will start negotiations in a few months. It was certainly misleading of Don to say that we are “in long term contracts with labor” — and this statement was not off the cuff, we had weeks to prepare these short written comments.

    The continual false refrain that eveything is rosy is the line that the firefighter representives use to justify higher and higher compensation packages.

    The firefighters came back with another demand this year to increase the rank of four fire fighers to that of battalion chiefs, the total compensation of these positions which would have been about $200,000, not counting overtime.

    This proposal would gave cost the city $400,000 a year more, without adding a single firefighter.

    And remember, the nine firefighters can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

    Even with all the accounting tricks such as cost-shifting, one time bridge money and placing essential services and obligations in other funds with structural deficits or labeling many essential servieds as “unmet needs”, it still would have been hard to balance the “budget” if this fire figher rank upgrade had passed.

    I argued and voted against this pay grade increase. Lemar voted with me. Saylor and Souza voted for it. Ruth was the swing vote.

    She wavered for a long time, and then joined me and Lamar in voting against it, but she added that she would probably vote for it when it came back. This issue has not gone away.

  36. Sue Greenwald

    As to claims of long-term contracts, as I told David, according to our city manager, our department heads’ contract expires in about two weeks, and all other contracts except police expire next July.

    That would mean that negotiations would start in a few months.

    I’ll re-check the time schedule today, but I think we will start negotiations in a few months. It was certainly misleading of Don to say that we are “in long term contracts with labor” — and this statement was not off the cuff, we had weeks to prepare these short written comments.

    The continual false refrain that eveything is rosy is the line that the firefighter representives use to justify higher and higher compensation packages.

    The firefighters came back with another demand this year to increase the rank of four fire fighers to that of battalion chiefs, the total compensation of these positions which would have been about $200,000, not counting overtime.

    This proposal would gave cost the city $400,000 a year more, without adding a single firefighter.

    And remember, the nine firefighters can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

    Even with all the accounting tricks such as cost-shifting, one time bridge money and placing essential services and obligations in other funds with structural deficits or labeling many essential servieds as “unmet needs”, it still would have been hard to balance the “budget” if this fire figher rank upgrade had passed.

    I argued and voted against this pay grade increase. Lemar voted with me. Saylor and Souza voted for it. Ruth was the swing vote.

    She wavered for a long time, and then joined me and Lamar in voting against it, but she added that she would probably vote for it when it came back. This issue has not gone away.

  37. Sue Greenwald

    Correction:

    And remember, the nine fire captains can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

  38. Sue Greenwald

    Correction:

    And remember, the nine fire captains can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

  39. Sue Greenwald

    Correction:

    And remember, the nine fire captains can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

  40. Sue Greenwald

    Correction:

    And remember, the nine fire captains can cycle through this position before they retire. Retirement is based on highest one year salary. The potential cost of the higher retirement payments for life for people retiring at around 50 was not calculated into the potential cost to the City.

  41. Rich Rifkin

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    It’s possible that Don was making reference to the long-term nature of many of the provisions within the contracts. An example of this is with the retiree medical benefits. Even if a union contract expires next year, it’s not so simple (as far as I understand it) to take away that kind of benefit in the next contract. That is, some benefits, once agreed to, are built into future expectations.

    Nevertheless, David Greenwald’s point that most of the contracts are to expire next year is correct. In order of their expiration, here are all of the labor contracts the city has with its employees:

    6-20-08 — Dept. Heads
    6-20-09 — Management*
    6-30-09 — DCEA**
    6-30-09 — Fire
    6-30-09 — PASEA***
    6-30-10 — Police

    * Management includes a long list of jobs from various departments: Administrative Services Manager, Assistant Police Chief, Chief Building Official, City Clerk, City Engineer, Deputy Parks and Community Services Director, Fire Business Manager, Fire Division Chief, Human Resources Administrator, Information Technology Administrator, Planning & Redevelopment Administrator, Police Captain, Principal Engineer, Operations Administrator, Wastewater Administrator, Administrative Analyst I/II, Assistant Building Official, Assistant City Engineer, 3 Assistant to the Director/City Manager, Community Partnership Coordinator, Community Services Superintendent, Community Services Manager, Economic Development Coordinator, Facilities Manager, Financial Analyst I/II, Fleet Manager, Grants and Evaluation Coordinator, Housing Programs Manager, Human Resources Analyst I/II, Mediation/Dispute Resolution Officer, MIS Administrative Manager, MIS Project Manager, Open Space Resources Planner, Parks and General Services, Superintendent Parks Manager, Planner, Principal Planner, Records and Communications Manager, Redevelopment Project Manager, Senior Civil Engineer, Senior Planner and Urban Forest Manager

    ** Davis City Employees Assocation.

    *** Program, Administrative and Support Employees Association.

  42. Rich Rifkin

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    It’s possible that Don was making reference to the long-term nature of many of the provisions within the contracts. An example of this is with the retiree medical benefits. Even if a union contract expires next year, it’s not so simple (as far as I understand it) to take away that kind of benefit in the next contract. That is, some benefits, once agreed to, are built into future expectations.

    Nevertheless, David Greenwald’s point that most of the contracts are to expire next year is correct. In order of their expiration, here are all of the labor contracts the city has with its employees:

    6-20-08 — Dept. Heads
    6-20-09 — Management*
    6-30-09 — DCEA**
    6-30-09 — Fire
    6-30-09 — PASEA***
    6-30-10 — Police

    * Management includes a long list of jobs from various departments: Administrative Services Manager, Assistant Police Chief, Chief Building Official, City Clerk, City Engineer, Deputy Parks and Community Services Director, Fire Business Manager, Fire Division Chief, Human Resources Administrator, Information Technology Administrator, Planning & Redevelopment Administrator, Police Captain, Principal Engineer, Operations Administrator, Wastewater Administrator, Administrative Analyst I/II, Assistant Building Official, Assistant City Engineer, 3 Assistant to the Director/City Manager, Community Partnership Coordinator, Community Services Superintendent, Community Services Manager, Economic Development Coordinator, Facilities Manager, Financial Analyst I/II, Fleet Manager, Grants and Evaluation Coordinator, Housing Programs Manager, Human Resources Analyst I/II, Mediation/Dispute Resolution Officer, MIS Administrative Manager, MIS Project Manager, Open Space Resources Planner, Parks and General Services, Superintendent Parks Manager, Planner, Principal Planner, Records and Communications Manager, Redevelopment Project Manager, Senior Civil Engineer, Senior Planner and Urban Forest Manager

    ** Davis City Employees Assocation.

    *** Program, Administrative and Support Employees Association.

  43. Rich Rifkin

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    It’s possible that Don was making reference to the long-term nature of many of the provisions within the contracts. An example of this is with the retiree medical benefits. Even if a union contract expires next year, it’s not so simple (as far as I understand it) to take away that kind of benefit in the next contract. That is, some benefits, once agreed to, are built into future expectations.

    Nevertheless, David Greenwald’s point that most of the contracts are to expire next year is correct. In order of their expiration, here are all of the labor contracts the city has with its employees:

    6-20-08 — Dept. Heads
    6-20-09 — Management*
    6-30-09 — DCEA**
    6-30-09 — Fire
    6-30-09 — PASEA***
    6-30-10 — Police

    * Management includes a long list of jobs from various departments: Administrative Services Manager, Assistant Police Chief, Chief Building Official, City Clerk, City Engineer, Deputy Parks and Community Services Director, Fire Business Manager, Fire Division Chief, Human Resources Administrator, Information Technology Administrator, Planning & Redevelopment Administrator, Police Captain, Principal Engineer, Operations Administrator, Wastewater Administrator, Administrative Analyst I/II, Assistant Building Official, Assistant City Engineer, 3 Assistant to the Director/City Manager, Community Partnership Coordinator, Community Services Superintendent, Community Services Manager, Economic Development Coordinator, Facilities Manager, Financial Analyst I/II, Fleet Manager, Grants and Evaluation Coordinator, Housing Programs Manager, Human Resources Analyst I/II, Mediation/Dispute Resolution Officer, MIS Administrative Manager, MIS Project Manager, Open Space Resources Planner, Parks and General Services, Superintendent Parks Manager, Planner, Principal Planner, Records and Communications Manager, Redevelopment Project Manager, Senior Civil Engineer, Senior Planner and Urban Forest Manager

    ** Davis City Employees Assocation.

    *** Program, Administrative and Support Employees Association.

  44. Rich Rifkin

    “Saylor’s assertion about long-term union agreements struck me as odd too. I’m not sure why he needed to add that statement when its obviously not accurate.”

    It’s possible that Don was making reference to the long-term nature of many of the provisions within the contracts. An example of this is with the retiree medical benefits. Even if a union contract expires next year, it’s not so simple (as far as I understand it) to take away that kind of benefit in the next contract. That is, some benefits, once agreed to, are built into future expectations.

    Nevertheless, David Greenwald’s point that most of the contracts are to expire next year is correct. In order of their expiration, here are all of the labor contracts the city has with its employees:

    6-20-08 — Dept. Heads
    6-20-09 — Management*
    6-30-09 — DCEA**
    6-30-09 — Fire
    6-30-09 — PASEA***
    6-30-10 — Police

    * Management includes a long list of jobs from various departments: Administrative Services Manager, Assistant Police Chief, Chief Building Official, City Clerk, City Engineer, Deputy Parks and Community Services Director, Fire Business Manager, Fire Division Chief, Human Resources Administrator, Information Technology Administrator, Planning & Redevelopment Administrator, Police Captain, Principal Engineer, Operations Administrator, Wastewater Administrator, Administrative Analyst I/II, Assistant Building Official, Assistant City Engineer, 3 Assistant to the Director/City Manager, Community Partnership Coordinator, Community Services Superintendent, Community Services Manager, Economic Development Coordinator, Facilities Manager, Financial Analyst I/II, Fleet Manager, Grants and Evaluation Coordinator, Housing Programs Manager, Human Resources Analyst I/II, Mediation/Dispute Resolution Officer, MIS Administrative Manager, MIS Project Manager, Open Space Resources Planner, Parks and General Services, Superintendent Parks Manager, Planner, Principal Planner, Records and Communications Manager, Redevelopment Project Manager, Senior Civil Engineer, Senior Planner and Urban Forest Manager

    ** Davis City Employees Assocation.

    *** Program, Administrative and Support Employees Association.

  45. Anonymous

    I understand that the Fire Department needs to reorganize or restructure itself so that there is not so much overtime and someone is always available to make decisions on best use of resources. What I don’t understand is why that would cost $400,000 to implement.

    I do understand that we really need to implement next phase in the reorganization of the Police Department.

  46. Anonymous

    I understand that the Fire Department needs to reorganize or restructure itself so that there is not so much overtime and someone is always available to make decisions on best use of resources. What I don’t understand is why that would cost $400,000 to implement.

    I do understand that we really need to implement next phase in the reorganization of the Police Department.

  47. Anonymous

    I understand that the Fire Department needs to reorganize or restructure itself so that there is not so much overtime and someone is always available to make decisions on best use of resources. What I don’t understand is why that would cost $400,000 to implement.

    I do understand that we really need to implement next phase in the reorganization of the Police Department.

  48. Anonymous

    I understand that the Fire Department needs to reorganize or restructure itself so that there is not so much overtime and someone is always available to make decisions on best use of resources. What I don’t understand is why that would cost $400,000 to implement.

    I do understand that we really need to implement next phase in the reorganization of the Police Department.

  49. Richard

    Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth? There is certainly reason to doubt it. Combine exploding unfunded obligations with declining revenue growth and you have a real challenging situation.

    –Richard Estes

  50. Richard

    Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth? There is certainly reason to doubt it. Combine exploding unfunded obligations with declining revenue growth and you have a real challenging situation.

    –Richard Estes

  51. Richard

    Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth? There is certainly reason to doubt it. Combine exploding unfunded obligations with declining revenue growth and you have a real challenging situation.

    –Richard Estes

  52. Richard

    Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth? There is certainly reason to doubt it. Combine exploding unfunded obligations with declining revenue growth and you have a real challenging situation.

    –Richard Estes

  53. Anonymous

    “One of her (Vergis) suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds….”

    Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.

    It’s the kind of suggestion folks only make when they’re either very naive or are thinking of it as someone else’s money.

  54. Anonymous

    “One of her (Vergis) suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds….”

    Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.

    It’s the kind of suggestion folks only make when they’re either very naive or are thinking of it as someone else’s money.

  55. Anonymous

    “One of her (Vergis) suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds….”

    Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.

    It’s the kind of suggestion folks only make when they’re either very naive or are thinking of it as someone else’s money.

  56. Anonymous

    “One of her (Vergis) suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds….”

    Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.

    It’s the kind of suggestion folks only make when they’re either very naive or are thinking of it as someone else’s money.

  57. please elaborate

    “Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.”

    Thanks for the clarification. Some of us are quite naive when it comes to fiscal issues…

  58. please elaborate

    “Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.”

    Thanks for the clarification. Some of us are quite naive when it comes to fiscal issues…

  59. please elaborate

    “Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.”

    Thanks for the clarification. Some of us are quite naive when it comes to fiscal issues…

  60. please elaborate

    “Using bonds (borrowed money) to invest in the speculative hope of a return greater than the bond interest rate is gambling, pure and simple, and is the sort of stunt that ruined Orange County.”

    Thanks for the clarification. Some of us are quite naive when it comes to fiscal issues…

  61. Sue Greenwald

    Richard says: “Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth?”

    Richard, I completely agree with you. Even during boom years, expenditures are exceeding revenues. Some of the revenue assumptions in our long-term budget forecast include a 6% increase in total property tax revenue next year and ,I believe, 5% thereafter, compounded, salary increases held to about the rate of inflation, no loss of the various state money the city relies on, that both are parcel tax and supplementary sales tax pass again, even though the schools are needing more tax dollars and water/sewer fees will be rising $1,200 a year (some estimate closer to $2,000 a year).

  62. Sue Greenwald

    Richard says: “Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth?”

    Richard, I completely agree with you. Even during boom years, expenditures are exceeding revenues. Some of the revenue assumptions in our long-term budget forecast include a 6% increase in total property tax revenue next year and ,I believe, 5% thereafter, compounded, salary increases held to about the rate of inflation, no loss of the various state money the city relies on, that both are parcel tax and supplementary sales tax pass again, even though the schools are needing more tax dollars and water/sewer fees will be rising $1,200 a year (some estimate closer to $2,000 a year).

  63. Sue Greenwald

    Richard says: “Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth?”

    Richard, I completely agree with you. Even during boom years, expenditures are exceeding revenues. Some of the revenue assumptions in our long-term budget forecast include a 6% increase in total property tax revenue next year and ,I believe, 5% thereafter, compounded, salary increases held to about the rate of inflation, no loss of the various state money the city relies on, that both are parcel tax and supplementary sales tax pass again, even though the schools are needing more tax dollars and water/sewer fees will be rising $1,200 a year (some estimate closer to $2,000 a year).

  64. Sue Greenwald

    Richard says: “Sue says that revenues have gone up 60% in the last 7 years, but perhaps more attention should be given to this side of the equation as well, instead of focusing upon expenditures. After all, do the next 5 years look promising in terms of city revenue growth?”

    Richard, I completely agree with you. Even during boom years, expenditures are exceeding revenues. Some of the revenue assumptions in our long-term budget forecast include a 6% increase in total property tax revenue next year and ,I believe, 5% thereafter, compounded, salary increases held to about the rate of inflation, no loss of the various state money the city relies on, that both are parcel tax and supplementary sales tax pass again, even though the schools are needing more tax dollars and water/sewer fees will be rising $1,200 a year (some estimate closer to $2,000 a year).

  65. Anonymous

    Wow if this keeps going the only people living and working in Davis will be the Fire Dept. employees.
    FREEZE every one’s pay for a year.

  66. Anonymous

    Wow if this keeps going the only people living and working in Davis will be the Fire Dept. employees.
    FREEZE every one’s pay for a year.

  67. Anonymous

    Wow if this keeps going the only people living and working in Davis will be the Fire Dept. employees.
    FREEZE every one’s pay for a year.

  68. Anonymous

    Wow if this keeps going the only people living and working in Davis will be the Fire Dept. employees.
    FREEZE every one’s pay for a year.

  69. Anonymous

    8:06 a.m. said:

    “I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Yes, by all means let’s consider the wisdom of even having the temerity to advance an idea, or to make a suggestion or to profer a proposal. Yes! By all means let’s put a stop to this..this..this..thinking! These are thought crimes and clearly some people want to put a stop to Sydney’s thinking! Quick! Before it’s too late! Before it spreads!

  70. Anonymous

    8:06 a.m. said:

    “I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Yes, by all means let’s consider the wisdom of even having the temerity to advance an idea, or to make a suggestion or to profer a proposal. Yes! By all means let’s put a stop to this..this..this..thinking! These are thought crimes and clearly some people want to put a stop to Sydney’s thinking! Quick! Before it’s too late! Before it spreads!

  71. Anonymous

    8:06 a.m. said:

    “I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Yes, by all means let’s consider the wisdom of even having the temerity to advance an idea, or to make a suggestion or to profer a proposal. Yes! By all means let’s put a stop to this..this..this..thinking! These are thought crimes and clearly some people want to put a stop to Sydney’s thinking! Quick! Before it’s too late! Before it spreads!

  72. Anonymous

    8:06 a.m. said:

    “I just wanted to point out one of the really big punch lines in these Enterprise snippets. Scared off by bland, technocratic language, folks may not have read all the way through Sydney Vergis’ reply on what she’d do to solve budget problems.

    One of her suggestions was that the city consider selling bonds and investing the proceeds.

    I hope folks will seriously consider the wisdom of even suggesting that…”

    Yes, by all means let’s consider the wisdom of even having the temerity to advance an idea, or to make a suggestion or to profer a proposal. Yes! By all means let’s put a stop to this..this..this..thinking! These are thought crimes and clearly some people want to put a stop to Sydney’s thinking! Quick! Before it’s too late! Before it spreads!

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