Into the Weeds: City Finance 101
Well, the time has come to get down to the serious business of City finances. Over the coming months, the City Council will be addressing some very important concepts that will impact how and when the General Fund recovers and the existing debt is repaid. All Chico citizens and taxpayers should strive to be as informed as possible, in order to be able to make their voices heard while these critical decisions are being considered.
As we have written before, we are about fact finding and truth telling without regard for politics or personalities. During our journey, there may be collateral casualties; however, we have accepted that as the price of finally having the freedom to daylight what happened and why, and and to address publicly what steps need to be taken (or avoided) to right the City’s financial ship. We have decided to push forward despite the cost because, in our view, the consequences of keeping silent while we watch the ship continue to sink are simply unacceptable.
Municipal finance is complicated stuff, but having a basic understanding of all the moving parts is important, especially while the City is in such dire financial straits and services are being slashed. Explaining the big picture will require a series of posts on numerous components, but we are committed to making it as understandable as possible and ask you to bear with us. If you will diligently follow along with each consecutive post and ask questions as necessary, then learning about the City’s budget will be a far less daunting task.
In order to keep these posts together, we have created a separate tab that will contain a table of contents by subject and date. In that way, you will be able to go back and reread as necessary. Whenever possible, we will include sample documents, charts, and illustrations that can be printed and used as reference.
This information is intended for your benefit, so we are very interested in your feedback. If we are unclear, or moving too quickly, or skipping over concepts that need further explanation, or even if you just have a specific question about something you have heard at a Council meeting, please let us know and we will do our best to incorporate suggestions or answer questions. You can either comment directly below any post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also ask that you share our website with your Chico friends and family. The Council is making decisions that will affect all Chico citizens and taxpayers, and unless we commit ourselves to being well-informed and participating in the process, those decisions will be made without input from the silent majority. And then, we will all have to live with the outcome. This is important.
So, put your thinking caps on and ready yourselves for our journey into the weeds. I can’t promise it will be fun, but it will be worth it. Look for the technical posts to begin tomorrow. Whee…
Thank you for your continued readership. As always, we welcome any comments or questions. (And don’t forget to tell your friends and family!)