Measure Y renewal moving toward SLO voters

May 22, 2014

sloBy JOSH FRIEDMAN

After Councilwoman Kathy Smith switched her position earlier this month on renewing Measure Y, four out of five members of the San Luis Obispo City Council continue to support placing the half cent sales tax on the November ballot.

State law requires a two-thirds vote of the council to send a general sales tax initiative to voters. At a May 6 council meeting, Smith agreed to provide the fourth vote needed to place Measure Y back on the ballot as long as the council would create a citizen’s oversight committee to track the use of the funds.

On Tuesday, Smith held her new position, though she indicated last week at a Measure Y panel discussion that her mind was still open.

During the council discussion, debate continued over the wording of the November ballot measure and the composition of the proposed committee.

Much of the dispute over Measure Y surrounds the city’s use of the sales tax dollars for capital improvement projects. City staffers claim they spent 60 percent of Measure Y funds on capital improvement projects, but critics suggest that the majority of the money went to routine maintenance and backfilling salary and pension costs.

The ballot measure, as currently proposed, states that sales tax dollars will go to capital improvement projects but makes no mention of salaries and pensions.

During the hearing, Mayor Jan Marx requested that staff explain how the city defines capital improvement projects.

City finance director Wayne Padilla said capital improvement projects consist of non-routine maintenance activities and city expenditures of at least $25,000. Assistant City Manager Michael Codron said capital improvement projects are projects that are contained within the city’s capital improvement plan, such as open space acquisition.

“Maybe not exactly what would be meant as a textbook definition,” Codron said.

Major expenditures listed in the capital improvement plan include street maintenance, creek flooding protection and sewer system upgrades. The city is deferring most of the spending, though, on the sewer upgrade until at least the next fiscal year.

Both councilmen Dan Carpenter and John Ashbaugh said they oppose the creation of a citizen’s oversight committee and that voters should elected new representatives if they are not satisfied with the ways in which money is spent. Ashbaugh, though, said he is willing to work with Smith in creating a committee in order to place Measure Y renewal on the ballot.

Smith requested that the citizens oversight committee have the authority to direct staff on how it spends city sales tax funds. The majority of the council, however, said Tuesday that they oppose granting a committee that power.

The council will continue to hash out details of the proposed committee, including requirements for membership, at its June 10 meeting. In order to place Measure Y on the November ballot, the council must finalize the wording of the initiative and a corresponding ordinance by August 8.


27 Comments

  1. SLOBIRD says:

    SLO has “general fund” money and “enterprise fund” money. All miscellaneous money (taxes, permits, fees, licenses, etc. that do not belong to a “enterprise fund” go into the “general fund”. The “enterprise funds” are water, wastewater, transit, (use to be golf course until users didn’t want to pay for the benefit of its use and wanted all citizens to pay for their privilege of golfing at cheap rates), and parking. The “enterprise funds” up the rates, impose fees and permits as needed to pay for services. An enterprise is self-funded.

    So, all of Measure Y money goes to the General Fund. If you look at the projects listed in the City’s list of CIP projects you will see roof repairs, painting of signal lights, new guns for police officers, etc. So, I guess none of this occurred prior to Measure Y passage, and the gas tax money (millions) the city gets from the state is not being used to maintain signals, roads, etc. Isn’t a roof repair maintenance and does the City maintain ownership of the guns or do we buy those and donate them to our overly paid police officers.

    Google: City of San Luis Obispo Budget, pick your year of choice and read. It will make you sick!

    Vote NO – MEASURE Y

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  2. falconbh says:

    I encourage all voters to Vote Against Incumbents – Who support raising Taxes and Excessive Compensation and Retirement Benefits.

    We need to rebalance budgets, reduce some programs, eliminate waste, and provide relief for Taxpayers !

    Local Sales Taxes
    South County Sanitation Tax Increase
    Excessive Compensation
    Early Retirement Taxes
    Retirement Bonds
    Road Taxes
    Cuesta Building Bond
    Water Rates
    Unlimited Fee Increases

    Voters deserve a real Democratic Vote on these important financial issues that impact all working families, seniors on a fixed incomes, those just starting out with limited resources, and the working poor.

    In November, We all have a Vote. Lets stand Unified Against Incumbents and Candidates who Support New Taxes and Excessive Compensation.

    Please Register and Vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  3. obispan says:

    You must vote yes on the Measure Y extension. Otherwise we will continue to deny basic services unless you acknowledge and agree to our exorbitant salaries, corruption and waste, and pay extra for those basic services. Can you believe Dietrich and Lichtig? It’s like Ken Schwartz and the leaders who made this place special never existed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  4. wineguyjc says:

    Vote for MEASURE Y. City employees need a raise, because they are stellar examples of the community – employees embezzling assets, employees growing pot on city property, cops trafficking / importing contraband, fireman beating other people half to death, employees coning residents for money for services they are paid to do as an employee, employees going postal on other employees via the internet, employees dumping hazardous waste illegally, employees running side businesses on city time, city attorney giving piss poor legal advice, the end result is that this keeps costing residents more and more money. So, why not give them a raise, they deserve it – NOT!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  5. SLOBIRD says:

    This is not unlike Kathy Smith, even years ago when she has the Garden Street Bed and Breakfast and participated in local organizations and as a member of the Council. Then she left town and came back vowing to serve the people.

    Kathy likes to grandstand, make a big issue out of a topic and then be the “peacekeeper”, “negotiator”, and “problem solver”. Problem is she always caves in and never holds the ground for the right reason.

    Goodbye, Kathy, and good luck where you go. You are a nice person but can’t hold your own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  6. SLOBIRD says:

    If you support and vote for Measure Y this is what you will get more of:

    This is a sample of just 19 City retired employees monthly/annual pension retirement payments for an annual retirement payment of approximately $2,232,405. Again, this only represents 19 employees (2 administrators, 1 finance director, 1 recreation director, 1 utility water/wastewater director, and 14 police and fire employees including Police Chief Gardiner and Fire Chief Neumann):

    BLANKE, DANIEL R (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $11,699.08 $140,388.96
    BROWN, RONALD D (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,535.42 $102,425.04
    CROCKER, RICHARD (PD) A SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,575.34 $102,904.08
    DUNN, GREGG H (PD)SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,698.40 $104,380.80
    DUNN, JOHN O (ADMIN) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,768.68 $105,224.16
    GARDINER, JAMES M (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $11,408.66 $136,903.92
    HAMPIAN, KENNETH C (ADMIN) SAN LUIS OBISPO $12,999.76 $155,997.12
    HAZOURI, JOSEF S (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,231.34 $110,776.08
    LESAGE, PAUL (REC) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,138.68 $109,664.16
    MILLER, STEVEN W (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,548.54 $102,582.48
    MOSS, JOHN E (UTIL) SAN LUIS OBISPO $8,666.81 $104,001.72
    NEUMANN, ROBERT F (FIRE) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,058.17 $108,698.04
    PARKER, BRAD R (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,273.18 $111,278.16
    RUTLEDGE, ROBERT F (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,866.52 $118,398.24
    STATLER, WILLIAM (FIN) SAN LUIS OBISPO $11,991.01 $143,892.12
    STEPHENSON, WARREN (FIRE) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,916.38 $118,996.56
    TOLLEY, STEVE J (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $10,924.85 $131,098.20
    TOPHAM, BARTON H (PD) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,292.34 $111,508.08
    ZEULNER, THOMAS D (FIRE) SAN LUIS OBISPO $9,440.91 $113,290.92

    MEASURE “Y ” – Vote NO
    MEASURE “WHY” – Vote NO

    The current supporters for Measure Y are Downtown Association, Chamber of Commerce (both organizations will benefit from the City collecting and spending more money on their projects and needs) and of course the City employees totally support this tax and you will see Police and Fire come out in favor of this tax. The City owes millions in liability funding to CALPERS retirement system and the rate is expected to raise dramatically in the next couple of years for teachers and all State, county, and local district retirement funding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

    • hijinks says:

      I support decent pensions for public workers, but NOBODY merits or deserves such huge pensions as those listed above. The CalPers AVERAGE pension a couple of years ago, last I checked, was in the mid $20k range. That’s indicative of what rank and file can look forward to in retirement. There should be caps on how much pension anybody can take home, regardless of their inflated pay or overtime pay. This is supposed to be social insurance, not a gravy train for a few who’ve already had the opportunity to earn more than most. It’s just wrong for the 1% of city earners to be ripping off the pension system this way.

      As for SLO’s pension problems, they brought them on themselves. Dunn, Hampian and Statler refused, when CalPers provided a “pension payment holiday” due to the booming stock market, to put the money they would have paid into an account for future paydown of pension obligations, which CalPers had warned would come when the market crashed, which the market always does do sooner or later. Mayor Settle warned them, too, that they needed to do this. Instead, they spent the money on things to make the Chamber of Commerce happy. They all bailed before the sh– hit the fan, now live like kings. So today the piper demands his due. It was all so selfish of them, and so obvious to anybody who doesn’t drink the city hall administration’s kool aid. These people think rules that apply to others don’t apply to them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

      • Old Salt says:

        NOBODY merits or deserves such huge pensions as those listed above.

        I agree…!

        I know a retired Correctional Officer who earns 90 per cent of salary.
        He takes a World Trip yearly…Europe, Africa, China. Etc…
        A counselor who lives in M.B. has Harley’s in his garage, and goes to Hawaii regularly. Etc…

        They all could live very comfortably off HALF their retirement salaries…
        This includes retired Police Officers, Sherriff’s and most certainly SLO administrators etc.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    • obispan says:

      Those pensions are water under the bridge and cannot be gotten away from. What Measure Y is about is continuing the gravy train by educating the public that they get will get no services without a special use tax. And even with Measure Y they won’t; skate park, public art (multiple sculptures of fat women dancing) and enhancing downtown profits at public expense are all your going to get. All this in the City that proudly refuses to patch a pothole as it is beneath them. Measure Y or nothing. How is it we get a City Manager fired from Malibu and Beverly Hills at twice the cost of the Governor’s salary?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

    • falconbh says:

      Reminder, a lot of those are costly ” Early Retirements”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

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