Saturday, May 14, 2011

City finally exhasuted from shoveling B.S.

After years of questioning and writing about the other reason behind the Hall park construction delay, it looks like the public will finally get to find out what it is going to cost to build the park. Thanks to a city that is freaking out.

The city has been withholding the construction cost estimates for about a year now. In fact, THE CITY WAS SUPPOSE HAVE STARTED BUILDING CLOSE TO A YEAR AGO (the schedule was created long after the lawsuit), and nothing had been standing in their way for a long time .

The city has communicated to several citizen's including myself, that the construction cost estimates were weeks from being completed. That was as far back as July 2010. We were also told construction would begin soon afterward. In retrospect it looks like a lot of electioneering for Dalager, rather than real openness.

During that time the city refused to share its "draft" construction drawings or estimates. As we have seen with the City Traffic Study, the Pavement Report, Health Care Study, the Cardiff Specific Plan, and the Hall Park EIR, it looks like the city is delaying the release of documents to avoid: 1) providing an adequate time for public review, and/or 2) hide the fact that the costs are way more than they have been telling people and budgeting for.

Well, right now the city is working on its 6 year financial plan. This is the time to look at the BEST GUESS at what it will cost to build the park. According to the former parks and rec director they were pretty damn close to being done a LONG time ago. That means that what they've worked up should be better than basing the estimate on pulling a number out of the air. No?

I did a records request a week ago for a copy of the construction cost estimates (in what ever form they are in). I did this for TWO REASONS: 1) Begin tracking the progress of that project, and 2) get an idea if the city's draft budget is reasonable.

Well, they haven't rejected the request yet, as they have in the past. So, maybe there is hope.

Below is the budget for the Hall park in the DRAFT budget (click to enlarge).


They've got $12 million for the park and they show operating costs in 2013. That's much better than NO OPERATION COSTS for the next 4 years that was in the last budget. That indicated they didn't think they could open the park any time soon. But what has changed? Why does $12million open the park now, but it didn't 2 years ago? Is it because the Hall park construction estimates say so? If the city is basing budget decisions on that document, then that sucker should be shared with the public and the council. No?

Or, is it that Jerome doesn't want to have to explain why there is no money budgeted for the operation of the Hall park?

Speaking of which, why was the city estimating the operations would cost half a million a year 4 years ago (see below), but now says it will cost 30% less to operate. What part of the earlier estimates were way off? That's assuming the current estimates are to be trusted.


The city has been hiding information from the public. It is time for the city to turn 180 degrees and share what it has. The city is doing the 6 year budget NOW. This is the time to release the construction cost estimates for the biggest project in the history of Encinitas, so the council and the public can make informed decisions.

(Yes, it is my guess is the council majority know exactly what the estimates say, and they have decided that it is better to keep it a secret. A lot of the Hall park financing plan has been a secret. )


Burning Question: Why didn't any of the council members blink at the last budget meeting when Tony Kranz and I suggested the construction cost estimates be released, and thus used in the budget  process?
 
Kevin

7 comments:

  1. Yet the pension payments are made and staff read at their desk because their is no more money to do any projects in the city.

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  3. Two huge questions to answer.

    $1.2 million allocated from Transnet funds. Really?...... Waite until someone sues the city for illegal use of transnet funds. That money is gone plus attorney fees.

    $6,700,000 Million from general fund? WTF?

    The 2006 lease bond revenue $20,000,000 was supposed to fund the phase 1 of the park. What happened to that cool $20,000,000?


    "The issuance of the 2006 Lease Revenue Bonds will allow the City to proceed with the
    acquisition/construction of the three high-priority capital projects designated in City Resolution
    2006-35 adopted August 23, 2006 (Public Works facility, Fire Stations, and Hall Park, Phase I)."

    http://www.ci.encinitas.ca.us/NR/rdonlyres/32525284-C97F-4918-B795-DC4A6DDA055E/0/092706EPFAStaffReports.pdf

    $6,700,000 from General Fund?!!! Geeze, no wonder the City has no money to complete any other projects. Between the pensions, free health-care forever for the entire family program, and the funding of the regional sports park, Encinitas will not have any money for any needed projects like the Streetscapes or any other park projects for the next 15 years.

    I can see why Cotton left. He's smart enough to see the shit's about to hit the fan.

    Lets see Stocks try and spin this one. What a tool.

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  5. There are only 10,000 voters in Encinitas. It seems like we should be able to get the city council to stop spending money so stupidly somehow!

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  6. One more thing. The operations cost included in this budget are a fricken joke. The City can't maintain a restroom for less than $200,000/ year. Try running a regional park with all the landscaping costs, utility costs, insurance, personnel, all the other overhead costs. the figure is somewhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000 a year.

    This City's budgeting practices are a joke and about as good as the state or federal governments.

    The problem is the feds print their own money. and lots of it daily.....

    It seems like Encinitas thinks it can print its own money. The problem is its your kids that will have to pay it back and it will also lower your property values because the property owners are ultimately on the hook for the debt and liabilities of the City.

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  7. The problem is the public keeps electing the Stocks & Bond.

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