Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Special Budget Study Session Announced

The City of Costa Mesa, through its Interim Communications Director, Bill Lobdell, issued the following press release this morning:



City Council to hold special Budget Briefing study session on April 26

COSTA MESA, CALIF.The Costa Mesa City Council will hold a special Budget Briefing study session on April 26 to provide information, clarity and increase transparency on several fiscal issues.

The session, which will begin at 4:30 p.m., will provide a detailed overview of the state of the city’s fund balance or reserves; a presentation by an independent CalPERS expert who will explain Costa Mesa’s $130 million unfunded liability, its current PERS costs and future projections; and a look at how the city is making revenue projections for next fiscal year.

In a break from past tradition at council study sessions, the public will be able to ask questions at the end of each presentation, and city staff and its experts will provide answers.

The Budget Briefing study session is scheduled a few weeks before the city’s preliminary 2011-2012 budget will be made public.

“We want to provide the public with a foundation upon which we can have a vigorous and informed discussion about the 2011-2012 budget,” said City Chief Executive Office Tom Hatch. “We think this briefing will help to enhance transparency and clarify the city’s financial condition.”


This looks like a good step in pulling the veil of confusion back from the budgeting process and may go a long way to helping the public understand the complexity of the process and the actual facts of the City's financial condition. It won't surprise me if, because if the high level of public interest in this subject, this particular study session is moved from Conference Room 1A to the council chambers.

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Anonymous CM Watacher said...

The biggest question about this "transparent" budget study session is WHO from the city will be compiling the numbers? I'd like to see independent financial experts look at the numbers and make the projections - not the same finance staff who have a vested interest in making the numbers illustrate what City Council and CEO Hatch want.

4/12/2011 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Kerrie said...

CM Watacher:
That's all the more reason why we should dump the entire city staff. Nobody trusts them. We need to wipe the slate clean and start over.

4/12/2011 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Eastside Phil said...

Geoff, just curious if you saw the article on the mayor's conflict of interests and possibly invalid liquor license at the voicefofoc.org?

4/12/2011 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous almostdone said...

What does "independent CalPERS expert" mean?
Lawyers use so called "independent" experts to support their cases all the time. Then the other side brings in their expert to refute the first expert.
Is this person going to be a expert for hire or an actual rep from CalPERS?
I wouldn't get my hopes up that anything more than independent spin for hire is going to happen here.

4/12/2011 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous IndependentCitizen said...

The city staff including Police and Fire are under the management of their department head who is an "at will" employee under the management of the C.E.O. who is an "at will" employee of the City Council. So CM Watacher, how is firing all the city employees going to work when they are replaced with contractors who are in effect "at will" and accountable to please the City Council? You also must assume that everyone from top to bottom in the city lacks character, professional ethics and honesty. No doubt that the"vision" of the majority on the Council puts a heck of a lot of pressure on the entire organization. Must be just ducky to work there these days ... Oh, by the way, contractors are used to these kinds of pressures and cater to them if they wish to keep their contracts and to secure future increases in what they get paid. They are rewarded by satisfactory "performance". Non-at will employees have civil service rights to help protect them. Contractors do not. Bottom line: All the power rests with the majority on the Council.

4/12/2011 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedforCM said...

Kerrie it is not the staff that needs to dumped but the council. They are the ones lying, making up numbers and whole gammit of other wrong things. The employees are in no way responsible for that.

4/12/2011 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's have the independent audit that has been agreed to by Council and staff first! Also, ANYTHING short of having an ACTUAL CalPERS expert from CalPERS itself, is not satisfactory.


4/12/2011 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous facts said...

The same folks who hire their own polling company and want to hire their own auditor now bemoan the apparent lack of independence of the experts hired by the city.


Do you people even read what you write?

4/12/2011 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

almostdone.....nailed it on the head.

Independant CalPERS expert in Riggy translation means....someone who will say what they want to hear.

Huntington Beach hired an actuarial expert to come in and provide "true" non-biased analysis....lucky citizens.

4/12/2011 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous OC Progressive said...

Huntington Beach brought in an actuary named Bartels who has worked with cities on CalPERS issues for years who was made complex issues very understandable. He was calm, professional, and accurated, and didn't have the same sky-is-falling, hair-on-fire nonsense that Riggy keeps spouting.

4/12/2011 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous LongTime Maggie said...

Thanks for the update, Geoff. This sounds like a positive step; it seems to indicate a realization on the part of the City that many residents are paying attention and want their concerns addressed.

Whether the "experts" are providing accurate, transparent information or it's all "spin," I think a questioning attitude and a healthy skepticism is ALWAYS in order. That's my job as a citizen, whether it's local or national issues. jmo

4/12/2011 02:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Honeyman said...

Didja' see the press release where they fact checked Repair Costa Mesa's ad?

Man, talk about paranoid!

4/12/2011 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

Kerrie, Western civilization had a good run. Maybe it's time for anarchy? Imagine, 0 taxes and no rules to follow. Everyone can walk around with a gun and fire extinguisher. We could change the name of our city to Thunderdome or Afghanistan. Although there would be more corruption, at least it wouldn't be government corruption.

4/12/2011 05:33:00 PM  
Anonymous facts said...


Pot, meet kettle.

4/12/2011 07:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Honeyman said...

Eastside Phil gave an incorrect URL, but the story he is referencing, makes very interesting reading I urge all to read and would be interested in your comments, Geoff.


4/13/2011 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Eastside Phil and Honeyman,
Yes, I saw that article in the Voice of OC. Yes, it's curious that the two towing outfit operators remain on Monahan's liquor license. It wouldn't be a stretch to assume some chicanery there, which I guess was the point of the article. Monahan's lame response when asked about the names on the license only ads to the intrigue. Based on the content of the article it appears the governing body, the ABC, is aware of the issue. I don't know what sanctions, if any, might be imposed on Monahan for not having an accurate license - maybe he would lose his license, which would put him out of business. It's just another example of how Monahan plays fast and loose with the rules when they apply to him.

4/13/2011 09:23:00 AM  

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