Anti-Development Efforts Pick Up

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citizensagainstdavissprawl

While for the most part it has been fairly quiet, there are signs that the forces that may align against a potential innovation park are gathering. In recent weeks, we have seen several op-eds and letters that have pointed away from peripheral innovation parks.

Now a group calling themselves Citizens Against Davis Sprawl has launched a website. On their page they write: “THE CITY OF DAVIS is considering the approval of three sprawling business industrial parks that would add 7.8 million square feet of developed space within our city limits. The so-called ‘Innovation Centers’ would replace valuable farmland with office buildings, retail stores, production facilities, and a 16-story hotel — creating levels of sprawl comparable to Southern California.”

The arguments they have put forward as follows:

A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING: Say NO to the so-called “InNOvation” Centers

THE CITY OF DAVIS is considering the approval of three sprawling business industrial parks that would add 7.8 million square feet of developed space within our city limits. While one of the projects is on hold for the moment and could still move ahead, the other two (4 million square feet) are moving full speed ahead. The so-called “Innovation Centers” would replace valuable farmland with office buildings, retail stores, production facilities, and a 16-story hotel — creating levels of sprawl comparable to Southern California. 

“INNOVATION” IN NAME ONLY

  • While the projects have been given “Davis friendly” names, there is no legal definition of what makes an “innovative” business.
  • While there is much talk of attracting R&D companies, there is absolutely no guarantee or control over the ultimate occupants — anyone who will pay is eligible.
  • True “innovation centers” are typically located in major metropolitan areas with easily accessible public transit, neither of which are the case here.

PROBLEMS, NOT SOLUTIONS

  • Adds almost three Pentagon size buildings on the outskirts of Davis — expanding growth and sprawl faster than any time in the past 30 years.
  • Increases the number of people who live in Davis, as well as commuters to the city — worsening traffic congestion on roads and freeways, creating more dangerous travel for cars, bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • Increases water demands from the industrial centers and new residents, further stressing limited water supplies for Davis residents and agriculture.

DAVIS CHANGED FOREVER

  • Valuable farmland will be annexed and converted to make way for massive industrial parks — land which will be forever lost for agricultural use, a major part of Davis’ past and present.
  • Buildings up to 16-stories will dramatically change the rural skyline of Davis forever — with additional pressure on the city to allow more development to accommodate the new growth, creating even
    more sprawl.
  • Our small university town will never be the same again — being instead changed to a sprawling Southern California-style, cookie-cutter city.
  • The city claims that all costs to build these facilities will be paid for by the developer, but that is unlikely since the city is pushing so hard to build these new industrial parks.

The only information we have about the initiators of the website is the contact name is Randy Clark. The website itself is registered through “Domains by Proxy” which allows for anonymous hosting of websites.

This is only the latest pushback on the Innovation Parks. It was only two weeks ago that the Davis Innovation Center put their project on hold, leaving just the Mace Ranch Innovation Center as a larger peripheral innovation park on the radar for Davis.

Earlier this week, we noted an op-ed by by James Zanetto and Judy Corbett, which argued we should “[b]oost our economy, but do it the Davis way.” They argue that recent efforts have focused on larger innovation center business park developments, and they suggested, after the hold put on the Davis Innovation Center, instead exploring the PG&E Corporation Yard.

They argued, “If, over time, the roughly 25-acre PG&E corporation yard were to be added to this, we’d have a truly significant site for office and lab uses within bicycling distance of the university, downtown and Amtrak.”

They see that a “long-term, urban design solution is needed to address our city’s fiscal issue.” They argue, “Working with community residents, we need to develop a vision of a compact, vibrant community that recognizes the talent in its world-class university, that preserves prime agricultural land and that continues its tradition of bicycle- and pedestrian-based land-use planning through sustainable development practices.”

Their focus is on the downtown. “A vibrant, compact, mixed-use downtown is an important economic asset,” they write. “The new economy requires space where people from different silos (and of different ages) bump into one another regularly, stimulating new thinking and allowing innovative ideas to blossom.”

They conclude, “If we in Davis make the right choices, we can preserve our city’s quality of life and develop a sustainable revenue stream that will support our city staff while maintaining our parks, streets, bike paths, recreational facilities and the like. In order to achieve this, we need to ‘take our feet off the accelerator’ and develop a shared vision that will foster economic development.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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51 thoughts on “Anti-Development Efforts Pick Up”

  1. Biddlin

    Imagine my surprise.

    “If we in Davis make the right choices, we can preserve our city’s quality of life and develop a sustainable revenue stream that will support our city staff while maintaining our parks, streets, bike paths, recreational facilities and the like. In order to achieve this, we need to ‘take our feet off the accelerator’ and develop a shared vision that will foster economic development.”

    They even quote Tia directly, if without attribution, though she could certainly have written the whole thing.

    Don’t you guys ever get tired of making Frankly look like the smart kid in class?

    ;>)/

    1. Tia Will

      They even quote Tia directly, if without attribution, though she could certainly have written the whole thing.”

      No, they do not quote Tia directly. I did not write this and would appreciate that you not provide “attribution” of statements that I have not made while implying that someone else had done so. I see this as more than a little duplicitous especially since you do so while not providing your own identity.

      I am quite capable of making my own statements and would prefer that you not pretend to be quoting me.

       

      1. Biddlin

        ” ‘take our feet off the accelerator’”

        So sorry, dear doctor, I thought I recognized that slogan from one of your recent posts.

        ;>)/

  2. Tia Will

    I am confused. I know that I am numerically challenged, however, I am capable of basic addition and subtraction. The group Citizens Against Davis Sprawl has cited 3 large peripheral business parks. The Vanguard has reported the placing on hold of the Davis Innovation Center leaving only the Mace Ranch Innovation Center “on the radar”. Three minus one by my accounting still equals two, not one. So is the citizens group counting the Nishi proposal as one of their three, or am I missing something fundamental here ?

    1. Jim Frame

      So is the citizens group counting the Nishi proposal as one of their three

      Possibly, but they may instead be counting the one east of El Macero that never got to the development application stage.  I’ve already forgotten what it was called.

    1. Alan Miller

      We don’t even know if this is a “group.”

      A person is just a really small group.  If the media believes it’s a group, or gets good quotes for articles, it’s a group.  There are many so-called “groups” that are just individuals with a group-sounding name.   Beware.

      1. Alan Miller

        PS.  I also have a group,

        “Davis Citizen Against the So-Called Yolo County Rail Relocation” or DCATSCYCRR or “Ducatsicurr.”

        Yes I said citizen.

        It’s an unincorporated, non-profit, non-membership, non-revenue, non-taxable, non-existent, and nonsensical group . . . of one.

        And I make more sense then all the sold-out politicians, connected consultants, cheer-leading munis, and mega-developers in Yolo County combined . . . in a large blender.

  3. Anon

    PG&E made it clear in two letters to the city it is not interested in selling its property.  This anti-innovation park group is trotting out the same old fallacious arguments that those opposed to growth spew out regularly: urban sprawl, traffic congestion, save ag land, it’s not the “Davis way”.

    First of all, Davis Innovation Park is essentially infill.  Nishi is infill.  Mace is bordered by land that is non-developable in perpetuity.  Secondly, it is my understanding that at least one of the sites has terrible ag soil.  Thirdly, what the heck is “the Davis way”?  Shout the loudest to drown out everyone else’s voice?  Sheeeeeeeeesh.

    I am all for moving forward cautiously on the innovation parks.  That is just being smart.  They may not be the panacea for the city’s fiscal woes.  It is still to be determined if they will net enough tax revenue to make them worthwhile. But thus far, I have not heard word one from detractors of the innovation park concept explain how the city is going to get itself out of its fiscal difficulties, other than to cut services and personnel.  Personnel have been cut to the bone as it is.  And cutting any personnel results in horrendous backlash, e.g. when the city let go tree maintenance people.  Every time the city cuts any type of service, there is ugly public backlash.

    Bottom line is the bottom line.  If you want Davis to remain Davis, you have to pay for it.  And continuing to raise taxes as the “fix” for the city’s fiscal woes just won’t work in the long term.  People are just about taxed out as it is, some barely hanging on.

    1. Frankly

      Nicely done Anon.  Spot on.

      I do have to point out though, that there has already been quite a bit of work done on the proposed innovation parks monetary benefit to the city.  I will dig some of that up and repost.

      I think there should be no accepted argument of business parks costing us… business is always the long-term net positive tax revenue source.  Residential developments provide a net positive revenue stream upfront… for the first 10-15 years, but then become a net cost to a city.

      Think about that for a while.  Since we absolutley know that residential development leads to a net negative flow to the city, then we absolutley need some amount of business to offset this.   But when we compare Davis’s local economic footprint to every other comparable city, we are signficantly short on the number of businesses.

      Space is one of the key requiremetns for business.  We have no choice but to allocate space to business if we are to grow our local business economy to meet our community needs.

      1. Don Shor

        You (or someone) are going to need to quantify and prove these two statements, since they are likely to be directly contradicted in public.

        Since we absolutley know that residential development leads to a net negative flow to the city

        A Vanguard participant in the past has disputed this, stating that the issue is not the revenues from the development, but the cost of city services.
        More important:

        business is always the long-term net positive tax revenue source.

        Sue Greenwald has repeatedly made statements to the contrary. I don’t want to misquote her, so I’ll try to find her exact statements from Enterprise comments she’s posted.

        1. Frankly

          The inference here… or at least the challenge being presented… is that residential development is superior to commercial development in terms of generating tax revenue for a city.   Or else the inference/challenge is that all development costs the city more that it returns.  We can test that by eliminating the auto dealers and then the equivaent acres of older housing and calculate the difference.  We can also just return half of Davis to farmland and count that difference.

          Of course business is better and of course farm land returns net nothing.  Retail tends to do the best because the sales tax revenue generated.  But this stunt by Sue Greewald to claim that business does not provide a net positive long-term flow is absurd and flies in the face of what is well known enough to the point of being common sense.

          1. Don Shor

            Here we go, with a little searching I found this exchange from June 2014 citing Sue’s comments in the Enterprise:

            Back on June 8, Sue Greenwald, posting on the Davis Enterprise, wrote, “It is time to lighten up on the propaganda. ‘Innovation Centers’ will NOT bring significant net revenue to Davis and staff and the City Council should be honest with citizens about this. There is value in helping the University with their tech transfer mission and there is value in helping to create jobs, but again, this will NOT bring significant net revenue to the city.”

            She added, “These consulting firms have resorted to a number of tricks to make it appear that companies create huge net revenues for cities. Competition among cities and even other states and countries for companies has kept cities from ‘working out deals’ that would result in net revenue. A more careful reading of the study by the ECONorthwest consulting firm mentioned above actually illustrates my point. Note, they say the company AND ‘employees’ paid and supported (whatever that means) $135 million in property tax. This means that employees bought houses and those houses have property taxes attached. But someone other than an Intel employee would have bought the houses in Davis if Intel didn’t come. Furthermore, we know that houses cost more to service than they bring in revenue anyway (after the tax split with the county, annexed land only returns about 6% of the property tax for the city, and the city has to provide services to the property). None of the state income tax comes back to the city. The comment on the report about Intel fails to make the case that Intel could have brought net new revenue to Davis. Again, it is highly unlikely that a business park will bring new net revenue to the city.”

            She would later add, “I think it is wrong to tell citizens that a business park will help solve our fiscal problems when it won’t. The only way to address the fiscal problems is cut spending or to raise taxes. However, we are stretching the Davis ratepayers and tax payers pretty far now.”

            Rob White the next day would step in and respond, “Sue – though I don’t really know you, I find your comments regarding an Innovation Park interesting. They do not seem to be based from direct knowledge or take into account the most recent studies by Association of University Research Parks, Battelle, or the Brookings Institute.”

            He would add, “As a piece of missing data, the Mori Seiki plant generates annual property tax analogous to about 300 homes and annual sales tax analogous to several blocks in downtown. I cannot release actual figures (it’s against State law), but I will confidently tell you that any city with 10 or 15 Mori Seiki’s certainly would feel a 10 to 15% change in their revenue stream. And this was just a mere 18 months after opening their doors, not decades as has been suggested.”

            He continues, “Also, we are in discussions with landowners on each of the potential periphery projects of doing a special assessment that will also generate income beyond sales and property taxes. I can’t explain more at this time because we must work through our legal channels, but let it be said that we learned from best practices in places like Mountain View and Sunnyvale on how to create sustainable and long-term revenue for the City.”

            https://www.davisvanguard.org/2014/10/analysis-revenue-potential-remains-a-huge-issue/

        2. Alan Miller

          flies in the face of what is well known enough to the point of being common sense.

          At times the giveaways cities partake in to attract a business or sports franchise defies common sense.

        3. Matt Williams

          To address Don’s first challenge to Frankly, the fiscal reports provided by Paul Navazio to the Housing Element Steering Committee in 2008, as well as the City-generated fiscal analyses for the Wildhorse Ranch Measure P vote in November 2009 included both revenue and cost inflation assumptions, 2% for revenue due to the slow resale turnover of homes in Davis (coupled with the constraints of Prop 13) and 4% for costs.  Those assumptions guarantee that at some point in the future the 2% difference between those two respective inflation rates will result in costs exceeding revenues.  That is a simple, straightforward mathematical reality.

          As long as those 4% and 2% inflation assumptions stay unchanged the statement “we absolutely know that residential development leads to a net negative flow to the city” is correct.  If either/both of those assumptions change such that there is either no differential between revenue inflation and cost inflation (or ideally revenue inflation exceeds cost inflation) then Frankly’s statement would no longer be true.

           

        4. Mark West

          I believe it was the City’s analysis of the Cannery project that demonstrated that the expected net negative impact over time was due primarily to the uncontrolled rise in the City’s total compensation costs. Control compensation increases and you will curtail the rise in costs such that new housing is net neutral or even positive.  The issue is cost control.

          Regarding Sue Greenwald’s comments, she completely ignores the contribution of sales tax derived from business activities as Rob White correctly points out.  More to the point however, she is discussing the situation of a City trying to entice a major company, such as Mori Saki,  to locate in town by offering tax incentives. The businesses that are anticipated to move into the new development space will be those who want to be in Davis to be near the University, or who are already here and need to expand.  As a consequence there will be little or no need to offer expansive tax incentives to locate here since here is where they want to be…or in other words…location, location, location.

          Finally, why should anyone really care what Sue Greenwald has to say on the subject as she is not a recognized expert on economic development, nor has she chosen to take part in the conversation herself? If she wants to come here and post her comments and take part in the conversation, let her do so, but I see no reason for someone else to re-post her past comments now.

          Instead of posting someone else’s words, state your own opinion and be willing to defend and/or discuss it.

           

          1. Don Shor

            I believe it was the City’s analysis of the Cannery project that demonstrated that the expected net negative impact over time was due primarily to the uncontrolled rise in the City’s total compensation costs. Control compensation increases and you will curtail the rise in costs such that new housing is net neutral or even positive. The issue is cost control.

            Thank you, I knew this had come up on a previous thread.

          2. Matt Williams

            I agree Mark that the issue is cost control, but with the recent comments around the community that the improved revenues picture means that raises can resume for the firefighters and other City employees, actually addressing the issue of cost control would appear to be more challenging than simply identifying the issue of cost control.

          3. Don Shor

            Instead of posting someone else’s words, state your own opinion and be willing to defend and/or discuss it.

            The point of my posting Sue’s comments, of course, was that we are going to face those arguments again going forward. Sue has posted these views in the comment section of Enterprise articles more than once, and I expect that she will do so again. Sue speaks for a sizable number of Davis residents and has their respect. I was suggesting to Frankly that it will be necessary to counter those arguments with facts and numbers. My opinion is that the business parks should go forward and that they will be net revenue producers for the city.

        5. TrueBlueDevil

          Mr. White gave a great reply…. Imagine the sales tax revenue a Costco would have given Davis for a relatively small footprint … that would have been a wonderful boost! … Ahh, Fantasyland.

      2. Tia Will

        Frankly

        business is always the long-term net positive tax revenue source.”

        Always is a very big word. This may be true until the business fails or moves leaving behind its detritus. The tomato cannery was a thriving business until it wasn’t, and then became blight.

        Anon is making a very reasonable case about taking a reasoned approach to whether or not these proposals actually represent good investments over time for the city. I don’t think it helps to make sweeping generalizations about how business is always the long term positive tax revenue source unless of course you were applying it to all businesses that remain profitable instead of these relative unknowns. I fully admit that I could have over read your comment.

        1. Frankly

          I meant business in the plural sense, not a single solitary business.

          All business investment is done expecting a return and accepting of risk.  One of the most prominent risk-return considerations is the market(s) that the business participates in.

          If the market changes, there is potential opportunity.  There can also be potential negative impacts.

          It is precisely because business can be negatively impacted by market changes that we need a dynamic and diverse economy.  It is also too bad that your Governor killed RDA.  Look at what happened to canneries in Sacramento and other markets.  They were redeveloped into some really cool new spaces.

    2. Alan Miller

      what the heck is “the Davis way”

      It is a group of words strung together that doesn’t mean a damn thing except what you the speaker or you the listener want to hear (which are usually very different things).  Sort of like “innovation” park.

    3. Tia Will

      Anon

      People are just about taxed out as it is, some barely hanging on.”

      I remember my dad saying essentially the same thing back in 1959 and my mother telling him not to rant in front of the kids. People who do not want to pay for services with tax dollars have said this as long as I can remember. Because one does not want to pay taxes does not mean that they are not able to. What is your evidence that this is any more true now than it has been at any time in the past 50 or so years ?

      1. Frankly

        There is copious evidence.  Just read that public companies are buying back shares on debt because debt is so much cheaer to the cost of risk for alternatives.  So they are doing that instead of investing in growth.  Why?  Because the combination of regulatory cost increases and tax increases make investing on more ownership of existing business a better bet than investing in new business growth.

        And those with cash are increasing dividends to stockholders instead of investing in growth.

        JP Morgan Chase just announced they will be laying off 5000 bank tellers over the next several months because it is less expensive for them to invest in automation technology.  The reason it is less expensive has to do with employment tax increases.

        You seem to look at economics through the lense of someone that does not understand what it takes to create a business that hires.

        You don’t see catastrophic economic events from too high taxation.  It is death from a thousand cuts… you slowly bleed the economy of its energy to sustain the population with economic opportunity.

         

        1. Frankly

          Tia – I think you don’t know what you don’t know about business and economics.  No problem.  I kow little about surgery.  The difference there is that you are not so much asking questions as you are challenging people that do know.  I can certainly put effort into teaching you if you are open to it.

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          Proof? Try the native Californians leaving the state, and the businesses that have left the state for Texas or Florida. Here, try this, google ‘population exodus California’, or Texas versus California economies. Austin is booming!

          A big driver is the cost of housing: there are many ways that taxes, regulations, environmental laws, zoning regulations, and restrictions on building increase the cost of housing. Add in “affordable living” and low-cost living requirements, and where does it end? How about endless reviews for building? The list seems endless.

        3. Tia Will

          Frankly

          So they are doing that instead of investing in growth.  Why?  Because the combination of regulatory cost increases and tax increases make investing on more ownership of existing business a better bet than investing in new business growth.”

          So much for those bold, risk taking businessmen. It would appear that some are only willing to take risks if they are effectively being subsidized in their efforts by the government.

          It is death from a thousand cuts… you slowly bleed the economy of its energy to sustain the population with economic opportunity.”

          You are right. I do not see this old trope of “death from a thousand cuts” as pertaining to taxes. Unless of course you are referring to the “actual deaths” paid for by our tax dollars in our foreign adventures and maintained by our weapons industry. So yes, I believe that in this sense it is true. In any other sense, without data, I see whining over having to pay for our own way.

  4. ryankelly

    I guess creating a nice sounding, but anonymous, political group with fancy campaign websites is now the “Davis way.”   I give this site no more credence than an anonymous posting on the Vanguard.  It states an opinion in opposition to others, but the person (I’m going to give this site the value of one person, until it is more transparent about who they are and who is funding it) didn’t have to go to this much trouble to state their opinion.

    1. Alan Miller

      I give this site no more credence than an anonymous posting on the Vanguard.

      A man after my own heart . . . . . metaphorically speaking of course.

  5. Don Shor

    citizensagainstsprawlpictureInteresting choice of pictures. The arboretum, train station, a downtown view, and what looks like Mondavi Center. All easy walking distance from the Nishi project.

  6. Davis Progressive

    the anti-forces are going to win this fight.  the council had a year long window of time to sell the public on the fiscal crisis in the city, and failed to utilize it and had the mayor working to undermine the very premise.

  7. Tia Will

    Why have a crisis when you can have a pool?”

    Or why not call things what they really are ?  We had a very poor economic outlook for a while based on some poor previous accounting and expenditure decisions compounded by the overall economic downturn and the bursting of yet another economic bubble. It is somewhat improved if not rosy and rainbow blessed. Why is it so very hard to call something what it is instead of amping up emotional hysteria over false “crisis”.  After all, I am willing to call a pool what it is ,”a pool” ,not a water filled recreational center and adventure land.

    Please anyone, if you feel that this was a true crisis, as opposed to a hyped up crisis of citywide proportions( as I completely realize it may have represented a crisis for anyone who lost their job and empathize with them) please let me know how you believe that this “crisis” manifested on the city level.

  8. Anon

    Sorry, forgot to format my answer.  Ignore previous post and look at below instead:

    Tia Will: “I remember my dad saying essentially the same thing back in 1959 and my mother telling him not to rant in front of the kids. People who do not want to pay for services with tax dollars have said this as long as I can remember. Because one does not want to pay taxes does not mean that they are not able to. What is your evidence that this is any more true now than it has been at any time in the past 50 or so years ?

    There are many seniors on fixed incomes who cannot afford a new parcel tax.  They are on the very edge of affordability, trying to stretch dollars as far as possible.  It will literally drive them out of town (and has already).  That is the reality.

    DP: “the anti-forces are going to win this fight.  the council had a year long window of time to sell the public on the fiscal crisis in the city, and failed to utilize it and had the mayor working to undermine the very premise.

    That is what was said about the surface water project – it would never get built.  And opponents threw everything they had to defeating the surface water project, and failed.  They claimed the city could never get state revolving loan funds for the surface water project – but the city did obtain state revolving loan funds.  Where there is a will, there is a way.  It is a question of whether the City Council and city staff have the will, because there is a way.

    Tia Will: “Or why not call things what they really are ?  We had a very poor economic outlook for a while based on some poor previous accounting and expenditure decisions compounded by the overall economic downturn and the bursting of yet another economic bubble. It is somewhat improved if not rosy and rainbow blessed. Why is it so very hard to call something what it is instead of amping up emotional hysteria over false “crisis”.”

    If you really believe the city is out of the economic woods and is fiscally sustainable, I’ve got swampland in Florida to sell you!  All facetiousness aside, the city has not grappled with the entire costs of road repairs, building maintenance, leaky pools, park upkeep, let alone even think about entertaining the idea of a new pool or sports park.  The harsh reality is that the city is not fiscally sustainable at the moment – far from it.  How far from it is the real question, and what the Finance & Budget Commission is wrestling with.

    1. Matt Williams

      There are many seniors on fixed incomes who cannot afford a new parcel tax. They are on the very edge of affordability, trying to stretch dollars as far as possible. It will literally drive them out of town (and has already). That is the reality.

      Tne of the reality challenges that a substantial portion of seniors face is that the purchase price of their residence and the current market value of their residence are wildly different, sometimes different by a tenfold factor … having bought the house at a price that was in the tens of thousands that is now worth in the hundreds of thousands. Converting some of that increased capital value into an annual supplement to their fixed income is an option for them … not necessarily a comfortable option, but an option that is better than having to move out of town.

    2. Matt Williams

      If you really believe the city is out of the economic woods and is fiscally sustainable, I’ve got swampland in Florida to sell you! All facetiousness aside, the city has not grappled with the entire costs of road repairs, building maintenance, leaky pools, park upkeep, let alone even think about entertaining the idea of a new pool or sports park. The harsh reality is that the city is not fiscally sustainable at the moment – far from it. How far from it is the real question, and what the Finance & Budget Commission is wrestling with.

      I agree 100%. If I could agree 1,000% I would do so. One way to clearly represent the City’s true financial position would be to show the City’s Revenues first, then the Expenses, followed by the Annual Surplus or Deficit, followed by the Reserve Balance (all of which are done currently), but then follow the Reserve Balance with two additional lines. The first of which would list the accumulated “necessary expenditures” to maintain our City’s infrastructure. The second of which would represent the “true Reserve” in either surplus or deficit terms.

      As a result the $7,757,798 General Fund Balance in the FY 2015-16 Proposed Budget General Fund would be followed by an approximately $100,000,000 “necessary expenditures” amount for including but not limited to streets repair, building and facilities capital maintenance, and parks and pools repair. As a result the City’s “true Reserve” balance would be ($92,242,202).

      Of course if you add $20 million for a new Sports Park to that “necessary expenditures” the true Reserve balance would go further into the red, reaching ($112,242,202).

    3. Tia Will

      Anon

      There are many seniors on fixed incomes who cannot afford a new parcel tax.  They are on the very edge of affordability, trying to stretch dollars as far as possible.  It will literally drive them out of town (and has already).  That is the reality.”

      I understand that there may be some who fit this position. I have always had empathy for this situation ( having been forced to leave my original home based on a different kind of economics… namely economic growth that was supposed to lift all boats, but certainly did not lift the already leaking dingys at the bottom of the economic pond). One can be forced out by development just as they can be taxation. However, I believe that just as we are defacto choosing to help large businesses who truly don’t need our help, we could choose to help those actually in need instead of pretending the wealth will “trickle down”.  Another point about this, how many of these people who you claim are being “forced out” are actually looking at their lifestyle choices and would simply rather have more disposable income to spend in other ways in other locations. I know a number of fairly affluent, although not right folks who fit this bill. This is not a tragedy or an exodus, but simply people making a rationale free market choice based on how they would rather spend their money.

      If you really believe the city is out of the economic woods and is fiscally sustainable”

      I am not going to pretend that I know what is meant by such descriptives as “out of the economic woods” unless you define them very clearly for me. For example how much reserve do you think is the lowest acceptable, a medium range, and overkill ?  If you provide actual numbers to your descriptives I have a better chance of understanding. Right now what I am seeing is people with differing opinions doing a “he said she said” version of city finances.

    1. Frankly

      tj, you hit on a fabulous opportubity being squandered due to lack of vision and lack of leadership.  I am not a deep pockets guy so I cannot push this hard enough… but the UCD World Food Center is an opportunity for Davis to become a food destination.  If we could develop our local economy around this, we would attract more visitors a la Napa, and harvest their eager tax dollars to pay for glorious amenities.

  9. Tia Will

    Frankly

    I think you don’t know what you don’t know about business and economics.”

    No, I am keenly aware that I know essentially nothing about the formal study of economics and business as it is practiced in this country. I know a lot about the very small, under the radar businesses that are actually the way many people live their lives. I know a lot about picking and growing on the side of one’s house enough berries to sell to the local store to supplement my mom’s lack of income after my father’s death. Same for babysitting which was necessary for our survival, not for trinkets, movies, or videogames as you like to portray to justify non living wages for teens, same for cleaning houses. But I am interested to learn your view point of how our economy works. Pick a time for coffee and I will humbly listen to your version of econ 101.

  10. Tia Will

    I would also like it if someone would like to share what they mean by “sustainable” which seems to have become a key buzz word in this discussion. My question is “sustainable at what level” both of population and amenities ?

    Let’s look at population. If we have a family of two who have decided not to have children, their lifestyles will be “sustainable” with a much lower income than will those of their friends who have decided that their priority is a family of 5 children. The former will spend no money on doctors appointments, hospital bills, kids cloths, toys, braces, education funds….. All of those dollars that would have been spent that way can be used to “sustain ” their lifestyle of expensive clothing, entertainment, trips, sports….whatever. Still sustainable, just at lower numbers.

    Now let’s look at amenities. It depends what you decide as a family or as a community just what you want. The couple that wants a five bedroom mini mansions with large entertainment room, formal dining room, guest house outback…. may or may not be able to sustain all the other toys and entertainment they want, but it will certainly be less sustainable than the couple who decide that a two bedroom one bath bungalow is plenty for them and therefore have no difficulty “sustaining” their other life style.

    So one when you folks are discussing sustainability, what population is it that you want to be able to sustain, and what amenities do you see as crucial to your vision of Davis. Without knowing at what level, the word “sustainability ” does really not have very much significance.

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