Tuesday night’s City Council Meeting starts at 6:30 pm at 421 Main Street. The meeting agenda can be found here.
Of particular interest on the agenda are:
(1) Request on the Consent Agenda for a $25,000 supplemental appropriation from the Emergency Reserve Fund to pay the City’s contracted labor negotiator. (I find it fascinating that the agenda describes it as a budget modification rather than a supplemental appropriation. That’s the new Chico Way — transparency at its finest.)
We expressed concern about the original $80,000 Emergency Reserve Fund appropriation both at the September 3 Council meeting and in a September 29 post. A primary concern was that this item had made it to the Consent Agenda with absolutely no public discussion beforehand. Bad form! (Did they improperly discuss in Closed Session?) A second but equally important concern is that this Council is repeatedly spending down the Emergency Reserve Fund for its pet projects. There is a clear restriction on the Fund that the money only be used for “emergency needs as determined by the City Council.” I just can’t see how this qualifies as an emergency by any reasonable person’s definition. Another speaker at the September 3 meeting, Peter Durfee, pointed out that $80,000 would certainly not be enough money to complete negotiations with all nine bargaining groups and asked, what then? Now we see “what then.” (Supplemental Appropriation_Negotiator)
(2) Request for an extension of completion of the audit to no later than March 18, 2014. This topic deserves, and will receive, a separate post. Sorensen has been pushing for findings of improper fiscal management and fraud, in furtherance of his personal mission to destroy the professional reputations of former staff. If these auditors make adverse findings and require the entirety of the City’s debt to be moved into the General Fund, the City will find itself unable to borrow or bond. It truly will become the crisis that Sorensen has been screaming from the rooftops. I’m looking to Chris Constantin to explain what a bad move that would be, and I’m hoping Sorensen will back off and Constantin and his staff will be able to negotiate with the auditors to produce an unqualified audit and allow the City to move forward with its adopted deficit reduction strategy. This could be bad, folks. (Audit Extension)
If you’ve never attended a council meeting before, please know that there are typically plenty of seats, and you can come and go as you like (in case you can’t make it until after 6:30 and/or really don’t want to hang around until 11 pm!). It’s okay to just come and observe — no need to speak unless you are so inclined.
If you do wish to address the Council, there are speaker cards in the back of the chambers, and it’s as easy as filling out two fields and placing it in a basket. (Do make sure your speaker cards are submitted to the City Clerk’s station before your item comes up, particularly if it is on the Consent Agenda or under Reports and Communications, since there may be no discussion whatsoever if there is no request to be heard.)
If you can’t attend the meeting, you can watch from home via live stream or at a later date on the video recording. Our permanent link to the Council Meeting page, along with an explanation of how it works, is here: Watch Council Meetings
Again, we urge you to get involved. This is your community, and being informed and engaged is crucial. The Council works for you, so make your voice heard. Write letters, attend meetings or watch from home, ask questions and make comments on our blog posts, and hold the elected officials accountable at the polls.
We thank you for your continued readership and welcome your comments and questions. Please continue to share our posts with your fellow Chicoans. Nothing we do makes any difference unless we can get the citizens and taxpayers involved.