|Radio Talks Finances|
Published: Friday, 14 September 2012 02:16
City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy, City Auditor Kevin Kearney and Alameda resident Ken Peterson discussed Alameda's finances in Alameda Community Radio's (ACR) latest edition of News & Views.
Kennedy and Kearney both agree that, with its more settled housing inventory, Alameda's financial situation is not as dire as that of, for example, the cities of Vallejo, Stockton or San Bernardino.
Peterson agrees with Kennedy and Kearney that Alameda is not out of the proverbial woods. And all three urge residents to understand the city's risk of insolvency if current trends are not reversed.
Peterson pays particular attention to how dollar amounts seem to appear and disappear in different reports in the city's budget, then reappear as different amounts in yet other reports.
Both Kennedy and Kearney praised Peterson for his persistence in voicing his concerns with city officials during city council meetings. They also encourage him to continue doing so, and to share his hard-earned knowledge with residents.
Kennedy and Kearney also advise residents to demand candidates running for city council coherently detail how they plan to re-direct the current financial path to ensure greater fiscal responsibility.
Kearney likens the city to some retirees. "The city has a fixed income, costs that exceed revenues, an inability to predict cost increases and only one way to balance the budget: with a one-time fix.
"I think the city will become insolvent, maybe not this year but soon, because it does not control costs," he said.
While Kearney praises the city council's adjustments to retiree pensions and medical costs, he says, "No one disputes that that does nothing from a math standpoint for the operating budget; but nor does anyone suggest cutting current expenditures." "The idea that the city goes back on promises to employees and vendors and the prospect of bankruptcy isn't something we want," Kennedy said. "The city must live up to its obligations in a way that is feasible."
He said that the current direction the city is taking uses "Monopoly money" and finds it hard to believe the city can deliver promised benefits and programs.
"I'm afraid people won't get anything," he said.
Susan Galleymore sits on Alameda Community Radio's board of directors.