Tuesday, September 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bob Dunning: Thorough review of city finances in order

BobDunning2W

By
From page A2 | February 16, 2014 |

More than a few folks in this town are beginning to wonder about the spending practices of our City Council and how we’re ever going to right our fiscal ship, especially with our beloved city manager’s admission that he’ll soon be moving out of state and out of sight.
While I’m of the mind that the good citizens of this town will more than likely be willing to vote for a sales tax increase to bail us out of our current jam, the public wallet will not remain open forever.
My friend Peter is one of those who is beginning to wonder why we’re planning a monthlong trip to Paris when we don’t have the money to fix the family car sitting in the driveway with four flat tires.
Citing a recent council meeting, Peter writes it “was another reminder of how eager” the council is “to spend other people’s money.”
He’s especially concerned about what he calls a $40,000 proposal to hire someone to tell us how to save water.
“Why do we need a city employee to tell us how to do the obvious — turn off the faucet, flush judiciously, scale back watering, replace the lawn? Does the city think we’re incapable of googling, or asking Don down at Redwood Barn for lawn advice, or the helpful people at Davis Lumber or Hibbert’s for assistance in fixing leaky plumbing?”
Not to mention the excellent op-ed appearing in this very newspaper several weeks ago that contained numerous tried-and-true, water-saving remedies.
Peter then turns to what he calls “Our $1 million municipal utility snipe hunt, of which spending $600,000 is proposed to spend on a consultant’s study.”
Indeed, I think that one caught a number of folks by surprise.
“Mere hatred of PG&E is a poor basis for an obsession with a municipal utility, and is an even worse reason to spend $600,000 of money we don’t have on a study that will cheerily overestimate benefits and underestimate costs. Exhibit A: see prior cost/benefit forecasts for public subsidies of sports arenas, marinas, convention centers, start-up incubators.
“PG&E may justifiably be on no-one’s holiday card list, but they do provide gas and electricity over vastly diverse urban, rural and remote environments with increasing reliability, engage thousands of repair people in cases of emergency, and have the economies of scale to evaluate, adopt and integrate new technologies.”
Adds Peter: “The city is incapable of fixing sidewalk trip-and-fall hazards or street potholes, and we expect a city utility to do adequate upkeep on power lines or gas lines?”
I’ll admit to never sending a Christmas greeting to PG&E, but I can tell you that in the half-dozen or so times over a great number of years that they’ve had to come to our neighborhood or to our home specifically during a power problem, they’ve been prompt, professional and proficient. I’d be very concerned that the city could respond better. In fact, I’d bet against it. In any regard, I suspect it’s a risk most of us aren’t willing to take.
“How about a thorough review of all city functions and programs? Weed out the ones that don’t provide incontrovertible benefit to citizens. That is, get rid of the ‘feel good’ and ‘aren’t we superior’ ones. Perhaps the council should take a hard look at how they’re spending our money before asking us to give more of it to them.”
True enough. Maybe it’s time to convene a citizen-based Budget Advisory Commission to turn over every rock looking for spare change that could get us out of this mess.

— Reach Bob Dunning at bdunning@davisenterprise.net

Comments

comments

.

News

UC joins U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Nature’s beauty is in our own back yard

By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Jury finds Dixon man guilty of mortgage fraud

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

 
Harmony Award nominations sought

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Street Food Rodeo rolls into West Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Wolk kicks off ‘Morning with the Mayor’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

So you want to be an entomologist?

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

 
Sheriff’s Office honored for safe-driving initiative

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Baha’is celebrate 50th anniversary in Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Downtown gift cards get a new perk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Unscheduled landing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Free community yard sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Forum will answer questions about new license law

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Applications open for Biberstein grants

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

.

Forum

Daughter has her own opinions

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Brother’s drinking out of control

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Donors support school matinees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A big Explorit thanks!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Teacher tenure becomes key campaign issue

By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

We must not stand for perpetual war

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Don’t cut all the trees

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

A great Day in the Country

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Davis field hockey team rights ship at Lassen

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Devil golfers soar past Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Blue Devils bounce back against Pleasant Grove

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Running game powered Devils in first football win

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie women reach finals of East/West golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
U11s get a win in an eventful weekend of youth football

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

A’s support Samardzija in a win over Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7