Redding needs to make some fiscal changes.
we need to create a bigger pie to increase city revenue
The city of Redding gets its General Fund income from two sources - Sales Tax (34% ) and Property Tax (24%). General Fund income is used for general services like public safety, parks, etc and accounts for all financial resources that are not legally required to be accounted for in another fund.
This is not to be confused with the Enterprise Fund (REU, airports, water, trash, sewer, etc) which receives its monies from fees generated by the cost of services. Enterprise Fund and other special revenue funds can not be transferred for General Fund use.
For the last few years, our city has faced an economic recession that has been particularly prolonged and difficult. City budgets and staffing have been rightfully adjusted to reflect decreased revenues.
Unfortunately, Redding has a service-based economy, which puts us at increased risk for an economic downturn when other employment sectors falter.
Realizing that the current city budget pie can only be cut in so many pieces and that the recession has already forced significant cuts in city departments, my focus will be to help create a bigger pie to increase city revenue.
Strategically increase employment.
If we want to increase our General Fund monies so that we can fund more community services officers and firefighters, or increase money for streets and parks, then we need to increase sales tax and property tax revenue. To increase these two revenue streams our community has to focus on increasing sustainable industries with good jobs. People with good jobs spend money in our stores and buy homes that increase in value and this is how the city makes money.
" Leaders of cities must make creating good jobs their number one mission and primary purpose or they put their city at risk." James Clifton, CEO of Gallup
Address infrastructure fiscal needs.
The City of Redding spends 9.6% of its budget on Public Works, and increased funding is needed for many repairs and updates that have not been addressed due to budget restraints.
We may not think about it much, but we all use city infrastructure every day. When we drive, bike, or walk to work and school we are using at least one of the 958 miles of roadway, 600 miles of sidewalk and 88 signals maintained by 16 full time and 7 part time staff. The pavement condition index in Redding is 55/100 (CA average is 66).
Our water utility provides service to 28,500 connections and is comprised of 555 miles of distribution pipe, 13,000 valves, 4,700 fire hydrants, 2,800 backflow assemblies are staffed by 15 full-time and 2 part-time employees. Except for the residents in the northeast corner of our city who are served by the Bella Vista Water Districts, Redding does not have a water supply problem. However, the state of California is mandating a 36% reduction in usage anyway. Our city must prove that we are investigating and implementing a plan for compliance or risk fines up to $10,000 per day. We must continue public education for ways to conserve and encourage the conversion to drought tolerant landscaping as a vast majority of water is used in landscaping.
STORM DRAINS & WASTE WATER:
There are 240 miles of storm drainpipe and 195 miles of open channels/ditches that must be maintained by our city. There are 416 miles of sewer line and two wastewater treatment facilities maintained by twenty-eight full-time and five part-time employees. The storm drain utility does not have a good funding source and much of our system is in poor condition.
Plan for long-term fiscal needs.
Look for win-win solutions to ongoing fiscal challenges. Pension obligations will continue to be an issue for our city and most other U.S. cities as well. I will work diligently with the other city council members to address this issue working with city staff and employee unions to negotiate solutions that are not only viable for us, but for our children and future generations.
Just like a private business owner, I will analyze city budgets for cost-saving strategies and incentives to maximize our resources. There may be other potential public-private partnership like Advance Redding that manages our Civic Auditorium. This creative solution turned an annual public subsidy of $750,000 into a venture that instead produces $240,00 annually in rent.