In 2012, Atwater, a small city of 28,000, just outside Merced was in a bankrupt financial position, employees of the city took 25% pay cuts to help the city in their budget.
The city enacted a public safety tax, Measure H, to be implemented throughout the city to help cover costs recover from the bankruptcy.
Immediately after doing so the city spent $890,048 for an un-equipped firetruck, an additional $80,000 had to be spent for basic equipment like hoses, axes, and other equipment necessary for a trip firetruck to be functional. Total cost of this truck was about $980,000. Now many said that this truck was necessary for the proper preparation into the future as this truck stretch 109 feet in the air, which is about 10 stories, but the city of Atwater did not have any buildings above two stories at the time or since to my knowledge.
Dawgs Blog was highly critical of this type of spending immediately after employees were asked to take 25% pay cuts and the city was in a bankrupt situation. I was highly criticized by many people in Atwater for my views saying that I’m not looking to the future. My argument was I am looking to the future, when the past is not served you and you’re in a bankrupt situation you have to change how you do things. Again, this new public safety tax supposedly is a temporary tax to run 10 years. They spent $1 million on a brand-new firetruck immediately after instituting this tax and financed it for the length of 10 years. That is not my idea of preparing for the future.
Here is the previous article that contains a synopsis of the series of events that I had posted earlier starting in January 2013:
Fast forward to March 30, 2018:
The Merced Sun Star reported that the city of Atwater, which is extremely cash strapped again is looking to cut $1 million from its $42.4 million budget that already shuts down on Fridays and is considered to be understaffed.
The article reports that they have a deficit of over $2 million in the general fund, and a debt of more than 2 millions to its own sewer fund and unfunded liabilities of about $7.75 million. City leaders are again looking to make cuts in city services.
Councilman Paul Creighton said the Council need to be brutally honest with residents about proposed cuts, which could include slashing positions in the fire department, police of positions and cutting Parks and Recreation.
Art De Werk, the interim city manager laid out options for the city Council during recent meetings, stating that spending has to be slashed by more than $1 million, including potential cuts in public safety.
In addition, there are more expenses that need to be paid towards city pensions and need to bring in at least $225,000 in new revenue.
City leaders have struggled to prove his solvency and have worried publicly that the state could take over control of the city of about 29,000 people. Or have Merced County take over. It is noted here that the city came close to declaring bankruptcy in 2012.
The city manager who has been on the interim position since January narrowly gain the support of the Council, when he first took over, by elevating to longtime employees to Deputy city manager positions. He argued the move could add stability to a city that seeing six different top administrators in recent years. But it’s obvious that many people feel it’s necessary to be top-heavy to function, and it’s expensive.
Again, this is being my argument that government agencies continually face ongoing budgetary issues, but continually are not willing to change their mindset and their way of thinking about handling finances. They refuse to look at new options and opportunities available, instead of using “this is the way we always did it” mentality.
When someone continues to have the same pattern of behavior repeatedly, but expects different results each time, is a textbook definition of insanity. This is the way many of our local cities and counties are run and there have become many major problems with that, but again they refused to look at alternative ways of doing things.
Who is gaining from all this?
Here is the arrival of that truck: