Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Watchdog Report: Town Looking To Meet Community Center Expenses By Dipping Into The General Reserve Fund...Again!(Part 1)

On Friday, March 31, 2017, at 2:30 PM, the Town removed the following agenda item from the April 5th Town Council meeting:

"Discussion, direction, and possible action from the Town Council regarding the authorization and use of General Fund Contingency Reserves for the following:

  • Construct an elevator to provide internal ADA access between the ground level floor and the second level floor within the Community Center Facility. [Approx. cost: $550,000 - $660,000 depending where the elevator is located.]
  • Reconfiguration of the facility parking lot to increase the number of spaces. [Approx. cost: $25,000.]
  • Construct an ADA accessible walkway from LaCanada Drive to the existing facility entrance sidewalk. [Approx. cost: $45,000.]
  • Approval of funding in the amount of $50,000 for the Golf and Food and Beverage Feasibility Consultant Study. [Cost: $50,000.]"

The question is: WHY do they want to transfer more money from the General Fund to the Community Center Fund? The answer is: Apparently, the sales tax increase is not covering the Community Center expenses as promised.

Additionally, the Town admits, “…due to revenues trending below budget in the contracted operations of Golf and Food and Beverage, the capacity to fund capital improvements has been significantly reduced.”

Broken Promises: When Payment Due Exceeds Accounts Received

The Town Council already borrowed $1.2 million from the Contingency Fund to start the Community and Recreation Center Fund (CRC Fund) in March 2015 with a promise to pay it back at $120,000 per year times 10 years. However, one year later, in May 2016, the council voted to DELAY the first $120,000 repayment until FY 16/17 because they didn’t have the money to make the payment.

Well, it’s now FY 16/17. How are they going to pay back the $120,000 they borrowed from the General Fund Contingency in 2015 that they never paid back LAST year, plus the $120,000 they will owe for THIS year when they’re now looking to borrow even more money from the Contingency Fund to pay for Community Center expenses?

Remember that the Town Council was only supposed to borrow from the contingency fund ONE TIME to jump-start the CRC fund...not borrow from it every year. The sales tax increase would cover ongoing expenses. That’s what they said.

The removal of this agenda item is very interesting and the possible reason behind it will be discussed tomorrow in “Part 2. Look out! Council to discuss Property Tax at April 5th Town Council Meeting.”