Culver City Observer -

By Neil Rubenstein
Observer Columnist 

After November, Even More Tax Hikes May be Needed

 

September 27, 2018



Can little Culver City continue to pay super-large paychecks and pensions to current and former City employees?

If so, local taxes will need to continue to rise.

No, I’m just not pointing the finger at our Police and Fire departments, but other City agencies as well. Our City Manager’s total of money and benefits is now over $400,000 annually, and some local government employee’s will never see the inside of a discount store because they’re collecting more than $175,000 in retiree pensions.

On Nov. 6, Culver City voters will be asked to approve another $187 annual property-tax to fund the School District plus a sharp increase in the City’s sales tax.

If our local government can’t reign in its spending now, it’s a safe bet that there will be more taxes to come in future years.

Time for a Culver Firewoman

I just guess I would feel better if we had a better system. After all, it’s been more than 100 years that Culver City has been functioning but has never had one lady in the firehouse.

Isn’t it possible to create a separate classification for paramedics, like so many other departments throughout our country have done? Surely, our Council should wake-up and change this poo-poo policy before our City is sued.

More on City Finances

Continuing the Culver City’ Observer’s policy of informing the public of our dire financial situation: State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, has listed all 482 cities in California based on their current financial situation and outlook for the next few years.

Culver City ranks 478, just five up from the bottom. With 40,000 residents, every man, woman and child in our community would have to pay $3,979 each to pay our City’s expenses.

Sen. Moorlach’s comprehensive study found that Culver’s financial position today is even worse than that of Bell and Maywood—and most of us know how those two cities turned-out.

Moorlach has already gained the support of several anti-tax groups, including the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which grew out of the 1970s property-tax revolt, and the National Tax Limitation Committee.

For additional information, visit Sen Moorlach’s web site at http://www.moorlach.cssrc.us or call his Orange County Office, (714) 662-6050.

Yee: More ‘Transparency’ Needed

California State Controller Betty Yee spoke on Sept, 22 at a South County Labor meeting that I attended. A group of about 400 activists from several trade unions and candidates for political office were there.

Yee and I had a long conversation on my suggestions to continue to improve financial transparency in California cities and counties. It’s probably only a matter of time before improvements will be mandated by Sacramento.

At our table were Veronica Sauceda, candidate running for L.A. Superior Court Judge No. 4 (www.Saucedaforjudge.com) and Patricia Hunter (www.pattihunter4judge.com/), candidate running for L.A. Superior Court Judge, office No. 16.

Please vote for both Hunter and Sauceda. In my opinion, they will be fair and have integrity.

Rank City Population UNP (thousands) UNP per Capita Year of CAFR

482 Vernon 209 ($101,678) ($486,498) 2017

481 El Segundo 16.717 ($86,756) ($5,190) 2016

480 Richmond 111,785 ($508,981) ($4,553) 2016

479 Oakland 426,074 ($1,789,831) ($4,201) 2016

478 Culver City 40,103 ($159,584) ($3,979) 2017

477 Cathedral City 54,557 ($181,885) ($3,334) 2017

476 Berkeley 121,238 ($394,430) ($3,253) 2017

475 Patterson 22,730 ($71,034) ($3,125) 2016

474 San Francisco 874,228 ($2,560,735) ($2,929) 2017

473 Santa Fe Springs 18,291 ($49,235) ($2,692) 2016

Culver City: Financially, 5th worst city in State of California

UNP: Unrestricted Net Position, in thousands of dollars

UNP: What each Culverite owes in future payments

Year of CAFR: Latest year the City reported

New Teachers, Same Budget Woes

With so many dozens of brand-new teachers with little or no real classroom experience having been hired by the Culver City Unified School District in the past three years, one would think that the district’s average cost of its teaching staff would be much lower.

But, if you check out the CCUSD/CCFT negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements on the district’s website covering this school year and the last one, you’ll find that the average compensation cost (combined salary and benefits) per teacher is $91,775 and under the CCUSD/CCFT collective Bargaining Agreement on Health and Welfare, it shows that the average cost of a teacher’s health and welfare is $5,222.

To find the teachers’ average salary, you would simply have to subtract the district’s average health and welfare costs from the teachers’ average compensation. In doing the math, you would come up with $86,553 as the teachers’ average salary--not the ridiculously low figure that Bruce Lebedoff Ander gave in his recent letter that was printed in the Observer.

His is almost $20,000 off- the-mark. It may have been $67,270 at one time, but that was probably a long time ago.

Wasn’t it five years ago when some current board members agreed to a five-year plan to give district-wide staff a raise that, at the time, was of an unknown size?

They helped pay for it by taking millions of dollars out of our School District’s reserves, and that, its final district costs turned out to be almost $20 million. That was the equivalent of giving district staff an unprecedented 30 percent salary increase.

But, that’s not even counting the district’s annual Step & Column’s increases of 3 percent to 4.1 percent for teachers with less than 10 years of service in the district. For those fortunate teachers, their salary increases could well have been between 45 percent and 50 percent over the last five years.

Now, Bruce Lebedoff Ander certainly has the right to express his own opinion of me. But hopefully, next time when he tries to throw around monetary figures, he will check the accuracy of his sources before putting out such wildly untrue and misleading information into the public discussion.

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opionion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at www,culvercityobserver.com

 

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