Cream rises to the top. In government, incompetence has the same effect. The country is in the midst of a horrendous recession that may match the Great Depression. The various governmental entities are looking at making cutbacks, generally of services that most benefit taxpayers. Much of our predicament can be blamed on our politicians, a result of their years of unchecked pork-barreling. None of them are taking cuts in their lucrative salaries.
The Lucia Mar Unified School District is sending pink slips to eliminate a large number of teachers, who are essential to the education of our children. It makes one wonder how important was spending all that money on the maintenance and expansion of the Clark Center. Was a new swimming pool really needed at the high school?
Grover Beach is oblivious to the sign of the times. Despite having a $200,000 shortfall in this year’s budget, it is spending money like a drunken sailor. Money it doesn’t have. Should we care? None of it really benefits us, the taxpayers. Our streets are still a mess.
The city’s payroll is greater than municipalities six times our size. Eighty-five full-time employees consume about 115 percent of our meager $7 million general fund budget. The city claims only 69 percent due to its finagling of payroll, by charging a good deal to the enterprise funds. Yet, employees are still rewarded with lucrative new pay contracts, including health and retirement benefits no taxpayer is receiving. A part-time city attorney getting $99,000 annually is also billing the city hundreds of thousands for legal expenses. The city manager is knocking down at least $150,000 per annum, plus his credit-card usage. It keeps getting better: Despite all of the high-paid executive staff, the city has the audacity to employ the services of a large contingency of professional consultants. The March 2 City Council meeting allocated $157,000 to three consultants to do city jobs that don’t include the cost of city employee backup.
For Lent, the city needs to quit worrying about the city hall’s looks, quit the niggardly spending on residential streets, and make wiser choices on the use of the taxpayers’ money. The State of California is going broke and Grover Beach is heading in the same direction.