Frequently Asked Questions - Q39


Question:

Then based on your answers to Q38, the City will have essentially complied in fiscal 2002 and 2003 with the cap set forth in the proposed charter amendment. Therefore, why won’t you just let the elected officials govern and not complicate matters with a complex, hard-to-administer city charter amendment?

Answer:

At least one more fiscal year, 2004, will transpire before the charter amendment becomes effective and it is still not budgeted for. The mayor and city council are considering seeking additional revenues, such as an already specified drainage fee (tax), a possible garbage fee, etc. Further, there remains a great deal of fat in the cost of City government. And importantly, as demonstrated by Exhibit A, over the last two decades the cost of operating City government has grown at about twice the combined rate of growth in population and inflation. The cure is not in temporary compliance with the very reasonable yardstick of growth in population and inflation. The cure should be a permanent one of a reasonable yet flexible limitation controlled by the voters and not by elected officials. Let’s put it into perspective. All non-elected City employees supposedly must meet qualifications specified for their job classification. But elected City officials do not have to even demonstrate that they can balance their own checkbook. Yet the elected officials are entrusted with spending over $2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money each year, with no real accountability except at election time (when much of their campaign funds are received from those who do business with the City). Would you entrust tremendous sums to even your most trusted financial adviser, with no specified limits and no way to disengage the financial adviser for two years? Finally, the proposed charter amendment is not complex, it is relatively simple in concept and administrative requirements.



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