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Council members point to $37M in reserves

Original post made on Mar 6, 2009

After a presentation from the city manager last month about the seriousness of the city's budget problems, some council members say they're concerned that residents might have gotten the wrong message.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 6, 2009, 1:43 PM

Comments (19)

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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:29 pm

With all due respect to Ms Abe-Koga and Macias, I have a real problem with part-time elected officials contradicting our excellent city manager on something like this-- using reserves to avert some relatively tame budget cuts would be irresponsible! Our cities fat reserves and cautious budgeting contribute to one of the best credit ratings for a city of our size anywhere!

Why would reserves for capital projects even come up in this context?

As far as I know, neither Macias nor Abe-Koga have ever run even a small business, and their inexperience in such matters is showing here.


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Posted by GSB
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Actually, Abe-Koga did run a small business, but not for very long.


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Posted by What?
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm

"Mountain View must keep 25 percent of the general fund as a reserve. In the current budget, that equals $22 million." Sounds like the city needs to look at their policy? A reserve is used to assist in times like these so employees and services don't take the hit. But in the same article...

"Macias noted that local nonprofits and neighborhood groups are overly worried about losing small city grants." This is one of those programs that should be cut. Why is the city paying into non-profit groups when city services are suffering?

I hope city council put a halt to all those city projects they approved last year...Stevens Creek Trail, cuesta annex, research into developing the parking lot across from the city hall.


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Posted by What?
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:39 pm

"Mountain View must keep 25 percent of the general fund as a reserve. In the current budget, that equals $22 million." Sounds like the city needs to look at their policy? A reserve is used to assist in times like these so employees and services don't take the hit. But in the same article...

"Macias noted that local nonprofits and neighborhood groups are overly worried about losing small city grants." This is one of those programs that should be cut. Why is the city paying into non-profit groups when city services are suffering?

I hope city council put a halt to all those city projects they approved last year...Stevens Creek Trail, cuesta annex, research into developing the parking lot across from the city hall.


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Posted by Watching
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm

"Excellent city manager"? He is a penny pincher from the depression. He has never giving more to his employees when times have been good. Yes he has made good on reserves but why cut services and employees compensations when you have the reserves to use. I am sure their is plenty of funds ....Don't panic.....but please....


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Posted by Watching
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm

"Excellent city manager"? He is a penny pincher from the depression. He has never giving more to his employees when times have been good. Yes he has made good on reserves but why cut services and employees compensations when you have the reserves to use. I am sure their is plenty of funds ....Don't panic.....but please....


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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:45 pm

What?--

25% reserves=3 months operating expense. That sounds like a healthy balance sheet to me.

Two of the three projects you mention are either paid for by someone else or potential revenue sources, both of which are good things.


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Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

"It's a rainy day, and it's pouring." Well based on what all the expert economists are saying and what the market is doing, things aren't getting better. If it's pouring now, I hate to see what it will be like when things get worse. It would be foolish for the City to burn through the reserves right now without knowing how bad it will really get. Mountain View is in a better position than a lot of cities, but that has come from being fiscially responsible over the years and the City shouldn't stop that practice. The City and its employees need to address the deficit issue with long-term solutions not band-aids.


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Posted by What?
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I am just quoting the article. You're telling me that $22 million is used by the city in three months time? Sounds like their is something going on then because that does not make sense if they are worried about less than that in being the deficit.

As far as project. The city puts money into those. Cuesta Annex...leave it alone. Stevens Creek Trail...no funds gained there unless you charge a toll to use it. The lot across the street. I can see income but the city wants to spend money on research instead of just letting an investor come in and start developing. The city loves to step in and imposs their power where it is not needed which results in investors taking their money and projects else where (Remember Home Depot...that would have brought money in. How about the Google Hotel...the city killed that project too when they wanted oversight. I hope they don't upset those guys. They can pick up and go anytime...overnight).


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Posted by smart growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm

The city is very well run by a great city manager. We have an excellent credit rating based on Mr Duggan maintaining fiscal prudence. Unfortunately one of the current council has any real experience in running a large budget. They are just posturing because they do not want to make the tough decisions and cut programs. No big surprise here. Using the reserve funds to balance the budget will not solve the long-term problems.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2009 at 4:37 pm

We may have a great credit rating and topped off reserves. But the question remains, if the city is so well off why is they city manager so worried about reserves. If Mountain View is in such bad shape then we be hearing about the cities around us in economic disaster and massive layoffs of city services including police and fire fighters. That hasn't happend...and won't. Sounds like a lot of adminstrative tactics to scare everyone so cuts can be made that are not needed at this point.


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Posted by Eric
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2009 at 4:37 pm

We may have a great credit rating and topped off reserves. But the question remains, if the city is so well off why is they city manager so worried about reserves. If Mountain View is in such bad shape then we be hearing about the cities around us in economic disaster and massive layoffs of city services including police and fire fighters. That hasn't happend...and won't. Sounds like a lot of adminstrative tactics to scare everyone so cuts can be made that are not needed at this point.


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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2009 at 11:13 pm

The city is in good shape BECAUSE the city manager worries about reserves.


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Too many Eric to respond to. I just hope the City is telling the truth about the budget. It would be sad to see cut to employees benefits and city services. The quality employees are what make this city a nice place to live and work in. Thank you.


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Posted by What?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Mtn View has always tried to keep strong reserves; I commend them for this. However, they do need to look at all expenses very seriously, to make sure they are not wasting money. Are city employees paying into their own retirement (PERS vs Social Security) or are the taxpayers still paying the employer as well as the employee's share? Are city workers still assigned daily to pick up litter in the immediate area around city hall, instead of doing it once a week or even less often?


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Posted by Laura Macias
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm

To clarify, the City of Mountain View's Budget has approved Reserves for various funds including $37M in committed General Funds and $136M in other fund Reserves- water, etc. About $38.1M are NOT designated for a special purpose. These reserves could, in fact, be used for contingency or bridge purposes in extraordinary times.

I work and have worked for multibillion dollar corporations, as well as start-ups, in business, sales and market development, solutions engineering and other management positions in the Bay Area since 1983.


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Posted by Stan
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 9, 2009 at 5:54 pm

If the city is in good shape, then why are cuts needed?


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Posted by Mr. Big
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 9, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I agree that spending beneath our means is a good idea for the City and our own personal budgets.

The rainy day fund that the City has set-up should have guidelines for is use. It should be used to maintain the basic infrastructure such as water, sewer, electrical, and roads. The fund should also be used for essential services such as police, fire, and health.


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Posted by An involved non resident of Mountain View
a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

The key comment out of all of these is the post made by Kevin about the City being upfront about the true status of city reserves. Something all residents of Mountain View should be wondering.


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