Did you hear how the County is planning to buy the old KMART building in Eureka and convert it into offices for a few different departments?
Sure sounds good on the surface, right?
THC supposes that consolidating the departments under one roof could be seen as a cost-saving measure in a couple ways. They wouldn’t have to pay as much as they are now for their incredibly high space rental costs, and they might get out from under some of the massive deferred maintenance needed on buildings. Not to mention the ADA improvements they’re mandated by federal courts to perform, even though they’ve done jack shit on that front.
(Seriously, check those numbers out: the County was paying over $397,864 per month in leases for space, or $4,797,204 per year. And that was in 2015!)
Of course, given the huge disconnect between the operations of County departments, we’re not at all convinced that putting them in the same building is going to increase efficiency in any way, shape, or form.
In fact, looking at the County’s hiring trends and how many people the County has been pumping into the Planning Department, you could easily say that the County is motivated more by obtaining a building that would allow for those departments in question to get even bigger.
And that’s no exaggeration, as you can probably tell from the string of new hires the County has been piling on over the last few weeks. In fact, THC counted (quickly) that four out of the last six supervisors’ meetings featured some sort of allocation of resources for a new hire.
But we shouldn’t be surprised by that, either. We went back and looked at the earliest pre-economic-downturn budget for the County (fiscal year 2005-2006), and found that the County had 1966.19 employees.
For the most recently approved fiscal year? They had 2288.78 employees for the adopted 2017-18 budget, and that will surely grow by years’ end.
We guess the Supervisors that ran their campaigns based on job creation – that would be all of them, mind you – can say that one sector has grown under their stewardship. That would be the County government, of course.
We guess you can make that two, if you want to include cannabis-related businesses.
But, again, those aren’t the kinds of jobs the Supervisors promised us. County jobs end up costing us, and there’s no guarantee whatsoever that cannabusiness jobs will be long-term prospects for the majority of people jumping into the market.
The upshot of all this comes down to one thing: the County is making land acquisitions to save money, they’re doing it so the bloated, inefficient, and very pricey departments can expand even more.
You know what that means, right? They’ll be coming for more of your money.
That’s underlined by the fact that the County’s budget has ballooned by $100 million from 2005-06 up to today, and we can tell you that a vast majority of that budget isn’t going to the failing services our government provides.
It’s going in the pockets and pensions of employees.