I hope you are having a joyous Easter in spite of these strange circumstances and that you are all staying safe. I would normally not write to you on Easter Sunday but there is some extremely important business under agenda item 6 of tomorrow’s City Council Work Session. Up for discussion is defunding the “Arena” (see my earlier email below).
CITY IS PROJECTING A BUDGET SHORTFALL OF ONLY 26.4M IN FY 2020
Under Agenda item 4, CFO Robert Cortinas will announce a budget shortfall of only $26.4 million (see attached presentation, p. 14), including a 7.4% drop in revenue during FY 2020 (ending September 1, 2020). I do not believe for one second that the shortfall is so small, and the few concrete figures that Cortinas provides grossly understate the drop in revenue. He will argue tomorrow that the City can make up the modest shortfall by cutting some street maintenance, “adjusting” salaries, and making other modest budgetary changes. Clearly Mr. Cortinas is just delaying the inevitable, which is that he will have to cut $50M or more from this budget, and possibly $100M+! In my opinion, the delay poses a grave risk to our City’s credit rating.
SIGN UP FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
I strongly urge those of you who want the “Arena” defunded and are concerned about our City’s financial stability to sign up for public comment here. Unlike on March 30, there will be no separate emergency session or agenda review, so things should move along pretty quickly.
I predict that the Mayor and a City rep or two will complain that we should not be discussing defunding the “Arena” during this pandemic, but they would be wrong. This is precisely the time to discuss this, given the financial peril the City finds itself in.
I will “see” you in the morning.