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February 26, 2012

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You're thinking "mean," Dan-O.

The "median" household income is the one where half the households have incomes below it, and half the households have incomes above it. I believe Pacifica has something like 14,000 households, so 7,000 would be below $91,134 and 7,000 would be above $91,134.

If Pacifica's twirly-dancin', business-hatin' hippies wouldn't keep chasing business and development away, our per capita tax revenue would be higher. Then maybe we'd have some money to fill a pothole or two.

"Pacifica has a median household income of $91,134, yet has the lowest per capita revenue ($600) in the entire county."

"Median household income" is such a useless number. All it takes is one millionaire to offset thousands of unemployed (if zero incomes are even counted) or minimum or average wage workers. I am a plumbing contractor. Everyone knows plumbing contractors are rich. It would be a considerable step up for me to make half of Pacifica's median household income, so what about all those people who make less than plumbing contractors? I expect there are a lot of those.

"The 'Fire Suppression Assessment' was not in fact dedicated to the Fire Department but was a supplement to the General Fund."

That's how it was sold to the public, and it was to remove firefighters' salaries from the General Fund and put them into the assessment fund, had it passed.

"There are many service factors to negotiate, and they all affect the bottom line and how much Pacifica would save in a switch-over. It's quite possible that the savings could significantly exceed $1.5M, but no one has any idea until negotiations with the county sheriff begin."

Well, wouldn't it have been nice if some staffer had picked up the phone and started the ball rolling to at least get some idea what we're talking about in terms of costs of using the county rather than local law enforcement. But they didn't, and apparently the task force's scope was so limited as to make the information it provided to the public so incomplete as to be useless.

The $1.5 million being tossed around as the amount of savings under a transition of the Pacifica Police Department to the county (Option B) is based on numbers supplied by surrounding cities that have gone this route.

As everyone has noticed, this is only an estimate. Hard numbers are not going to be available until Pacifica sits down and hashes out the services desired from the county, if Pacifica pursues this option--no one has these numbers yet.

Cost of service will vary enormously and can depend on levels of service, such as base-level response times, how many deputies Pacifica would like patrolling at any given moment, whether the city would want the current police station occupied as a substation, etc.

There are many service factors to negotiate, and they all affect the bottom line and how much Pacifica would save in a switch-over. It's quite possible that the savings could significantly exceed $1.5M, but no one has any idea until negotiations with the county sheriff begin.

This is based on data offered by Financing City Services Task Force Chair Bruce Banco during the above-mentioned breakfast meeting, and comments made by Councilmember Len Stone and Finance Director Ann Ritzma at that same meeting.

The "Fire Suppression Assessment" was not in fact dedicated to the Fire Department but was a supplement to the General Fund. Why do we have to continue the fiction even after it was defeated?

I was surprised to learn that the cost savings of consolidating the Police Department with the county has no solid figures behind it. So where DID the $1.5 million savings came from? Obviously, as has been stated elsewhere, the task force needs to get the figures from the county, pronto! If there's any savings to be had here, I'm in favor of it. Responding to the survey, even without adequate information, 25.6 percent of respondents strongly supported consolidation of the police, and another 12.7 percent somewhat supported it. So there is hope that with better information this option may win further support.

"'Pacifica has a median household income of $91,134, yet has the lowest per capita revenue ($600) in the entire county,' said Banco. [As you look across the county, we are not anywhere near the top level of pay given to our city employees. In fact, wages paid to our city employees are in the bottom quartile in the state.'"

I assume Mr. Banco means by "per capita revenue" what is taken by government. Of course, that would be true as Pacifica has the lowest sales tax revenue in the county. That's why the second statement is true about employee salaries.

And more important, if Pacifica can't pay its workforce, what does it matter in comparing salaries with other, richer communities anyway? It's irrelevant.

"But in April 2011 the Fire Suppression Assessment was abandoned after responses received by the city were sufficient to defeat it."

Why beat around the semantic bush? It was trounced in a mail-in ballot. Again, more than 60 percent of the vote was "no."

"'Something has to happen. It might not be pleasurable. If it's not a revenue increase, it could be tax increases or further salary reductions or whatever it eventually winds up to be, we are just going to have to do it,' said Banco."

Ah! A glimmer of light here: "...further salary reductions." By George, I think it might be starting to filter through to those worthies who can't seem to figure it out: "We can't pay for the payroll/pension scheme that's in place and we're going to have to reduce it."

Will we have to go through another election in which the powers-that-be again find out the mood of the people toward gross fiscal mismanagement?

"He enumerated the quickly declining reserves from $6,609,009 in FY09/10 to $4,592,054 in FY10/11; $1,523,910 in FY11/12 to a predicted $503,496 in FY12/13; $139,810 in FY13/14, $130,062 in FY14/15, and $66,946 in FY15/16, with a 'bottoming out' of zero reserves in FY16/17."

And why did they decline, Mr. Banco? Because the city couldn't make payroll so it spent the reserves on the unsustainable payroll/pension plan it had approved. Utterly irresponsible.


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