It is an understatement to say that up until the last few weeks there has been no sense of urgency to resolve the structural deficit of the city. The City Council has been content to trim around the fringe. The suggested layoffs are no where near as draconian as some have claimed – many of the reductions are nothing more than transfers to proprietary departments.
Housing general fund employees in DWP, airports and harbors does not seem to bother the Council or the Mayor, after all, someone else pays for those services. That’s us.
Either directly or indirectly, through fees, taxes or debt service we are covering the diversion of internal capital generated by these employee transfers.
It does not get more direct than when it is the DWP absorbing displaced general fund heads. We pay for them through higher utility rates, such as what is being proposed now. In other words Plan B, the bastard son of Measure B (SOB).
Why do I connect the two? It is the Mayor’s passion to meet the state’s mandated 20% renewable energy target by the end of 2010 regardless of the cost. He’d rather cave to the state than push back. This is the same state government that keeps as much property tax revenue as possible to the detriment of counties and cities.
So what will the hit be to our wallets? A 20% increase in our rates will occur within a year if a recommendation by the DWP is approved.
Approximately 20% of our bills flow into the general fund through the annual transfer by DWP. The more the utility collects, the more money goes to the city, the smaller the deficit. In other words, it is a tax.
The Mayor had the real survey completed and finalized long before he rolled out the ersatz version to the public. The only respondents worked for City Hall.