Humboldt still seeing red: Supervisor makes excuses for County deficit

In a recent press release, the County gave some details about how they somehow managed to arrive at a budget for 2015-2016 that still has Humboldt mired in a $3 million dollar budget deficit.

We know, it’s not surprising.

But we think that several excerpts from the budget are worth noting. For example, when Humboldt’s favorite SoHum Supervisor Estelle Fennell said: “We are beginning to feel economic recovery in Humboldt County, but we continue to face hard choices among many worthy needs,” and, “We thank the community for understanding our financial situation…

Funny thing is, many people ’round here don’t understand the financial situation. You see, also mentioned in the press release is the fact that the County raised taxes (via Measure Z) by nearly $9 million buckaroos over the last year. We aren’t geniuses, but hell, that’s a lot of money. Granted, it was all ear-marked for “public safety expenditures,” but you all remember how we didn’t actually get all the things we were promised for our safety, don’t you?

P.s. Bye Bye Station 4!

As for the part of Estelle’s statement referring to Humboldt’s economic recovery, well…*vomit*. Sorry, that literally made us sick.

The County’s discretionary spending fund came in at around $115.2 million, but the money coming in from General Fund revenues falls a wee $3,000,000 short of the amount required to cover that. Count the zeros, folks.

Speaking of zero, that’s about how much sympathy we have for the “hard choices” that the County had to make. Expected and unexpected costs are rising for everybody living in this county. Yet we balance our checkbooks every month.

But isn’t it sad when an “expected expense” these days is your local government increasing your taxes every year? Don’t go thinking that’s going to stop, either, since the County is desperately seeking a way to bring the General Reserve balance back up to the required $6.7 million. As of the press release, the Reserve was sitting at a measly $1.17 million. Oh, what’s that? The County did contribute money to the Reserve this year?

Yep, they put in $400,000. Straight from the County:

“Reserve levels are low: The Board’s policy calls for the county’s General Reserve to be between 8 and 10 percent of the total General Fund revenues, or $8.9 million. However, the county’s current General Reserve balance is only $1.17 million. This budget contributes $400,000 to the General Reserve. Per policy, General Fund contingencies should be $6.7 million, but are currently $1.24 million.”

Before we go purge again – thanks, Estelle! – let’s look at our favorite part of the press release that talks about “looking forward” and “addressing the deficit”:

“New costs for FY 2015-16 are leading to a budget with a deficit of more than $3 million in the General Fund. Rather than calling for a round of service reductions, this budget addresses the community’s needs. However, this remains an unsustainable budget picture and county staff will continue to work to address it – including tackling rising retirement costs.”

Actually, last we checked, we did have our services reduced in spite of a massive tax increase. Last we checked, the community’s needs were not being addressed.

And last we checked, the County and the current Board of Supervisors have done nothing to effectively address the unsustainable budgets they sure love approving.

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7 Responses to Humboldt still seeing red: Supervisor makes excuses for County deficit

  1. Mac Towner says:

    On a related subject see the LOCO article that just came out:
    http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/jul/1/labor-contract-expiring-tonight-sheriffs-deputies/

    Apparently our local Sheriffs deputies can’t seem to get by on the $125,000 they cost us for each one of them while the rest of us in the county are supposed to get by on $30,000 for an entire family.

    Gimme a break. Exactly when are our elected officials going to start thinking about real economic development? I notice they had about twenty meeting about legalizing cannabis grows this month and another bunch of them to talk about the General Plan and how to restrict growth in a place without any. Can we get just one singe meeting about some creating real jobs? Is just one occasional meeting too much to ask?

    Like

  2. Sohum Gal says:

    I’m fortunate to have a job now but it wasn’t that long ago that I was laid off and searching. There are very few long term jobs that pay a living wage and have benefits. It’s really disconcerting that our local officials have so little empathy for us working folks who are struggling. A neighbor has been fighting with the Planning Department for years over some BS thing on her title from twenty five years ago and now they are rezoning her into oblivion. There’s no shortage of money when it comes to harassing families that are just trying to get by but nobody’s putting any effort into trying to make things better. Estelle Fennell ran on a platform of improvement but it took twenty minutes for her to become part of the problem. Who else is out there that we can support. It’s time for a change to somebody we can really count on.

    Like

  3. Sohum Gal says:

    ps: I really hate to say it because I never supported him, but I miss Rodger Rodini.

    Like

  4. Sally says:

    And now they want to give themselves a pay raise to $87,000 a year. Estelle say’s it “fair”.
    Of course they never mention the additional $30,000+ in benefits they also receive each tear.

    As Mac Towner says, most of us get by on an average of $30,000 in total yearly income, that’s less then JUST their annual benefit package!!! And then they go and appoint a bunch of self serving Planning Commissioners who are advising on what the rules should be on their own property? It’s far past time to VOTE THESE BUMS OUT!!!!

    Every one of them needs to go. But who will dare run against school yard bully Rex in the 1st District? And if you do, will he send his “hit-man” son to kidnap or terrorizes you at gun point, or does he only do that to other pot growers? Speaking of which, how is it that Estelle does not have to recuse herself from votes on Marijuana growing regulations?

    Like

    • One of the benefits of “me too”. Too bad THC couldn’t see this. I hope THC and it’s readers noticed the rash of pay raises. This was almost immediately after the negotiations with AFSCME failed to continue the “me too” clause.

      Open up the floodgates to raise the conservative and self-interested BOS hand-picked causes which of course will include their own bottom line.

      But, no, let’s just talk-down “me too” in principle. The unions are for it anyway. It must be bad news right?

      Liked by 1 person

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