Grand Jury says Guadalupe shell game must end
April 14, 2015
The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury recommended the city of Guadalupe disincorporate, in a report released Friday. The Guadalupe City Council has 90 days to respond to the Grand Jury recommendation.
In 2006, a grand jury deemed Guadalupe, which was founded in 1840, “a city in turmoil.” Since then, financial mismanagement and accounting practices have placed the city on the verge of bankruptcy.
“Clearly, Guadalupe continues to be a city in trouble, caused by over 12 years of repeated financial mismanagement, improper transfers of money from restricted funds to the general fund, years of deficit spending, uninquisitive and under trained city council members, and overworked employees, many of whom have or had little training or back ground for their positions,” the Grand Jury report says.
In Nov. 2014, the voters based three ballot measures that when fully implemented will bring in about $300,000 in annual revenue, or less than half of the city’s $630,000 spending deficit.
“The increased revenue from the three tax measures allows the city to limp along with day-to-day operations,” the Grand Jury report says. “It is not enough to provide funding for essential changes to city operations such as building up a reserve fund for emergencies, repairing or maintaining aging infrastructure, needed capital improvements, restoring salary or benefits to employees who have agreed to furloughs and salary cuts, or adding staff.”
The Santa Barbara Grand Jury recommends that the city disincorporate and become services area which will freeze the city’s debts at its current level of more than $726,100. The Guadalupe City Council has 90 days to respond to the report.