Cameron Park CSD, where is our money going?
Shiva Frentzen is the only member of the board who has asked the tough budget questions.
She is met with opposition by the other four and the new G.M. We are 2 months and a few days from the end of the fiscal year and the CSD is just now beginning to address the $202,000 budget shortfall for the 2011/12 budget. The staff and the board should have been looking into the current budget mid year, and cuts should have been made to reduce the deficit. This deficit will surely increase before years end, June 30th.
To make matters worse, the CSD needs to produce the 2012/13 budget by the end of June. I have witnessed this reckless behavior for years, and I am hoping that this letter peaks the interest of the residents of Cameron Park. Every year the district dips into their general fund (operating bank account) and balances the budget. I think the CSD is probably the only agency in the county that has yet to recognize we are in a fiscal crisis.
As a taxpayer, I have little faith in the people who are supposed to be managing our tax dollars. I have been attending monthly meetings for over 5 years now and nothing ever changes. The faces change but the way they operate doesn’t. Taking funds from the general fund is a poor practice and in my opinion, they are setting themselves up for failure. Instead of running programs in the black, the G.M. pushes on, adding new programs and hanging onto the hope that revenues will fix the problem. I can’t believe at the cavalier attitude of some members of the board and staff.
For years the recreation department has been bleeding the general fund. In contrast, the fire department comes in under budget, showing healthy reserves. And what happens to those reserves? They use them to balance the budget.
In 2005 the CSD adopted the Fire Dept. Master Plan & Capitol Improvement Plan. It was clearly defined that the CSD needed to set aside funds each year for replacement of fire engines. This is not being done. The CSD has been taking the fire department reserves for years to offset the budget deficit in other areas. Instead of rewarding the fire department for saving money, they penalize them and give their reserves to departments that are constantly in the red.
This is wrong and it needs to stop. As long as property taxes stay flat, the CSD will have no wiggle room in its budget.
The board should direct the general manager to make the budget her top priority. Revenues from programs are not going to close a $200,000 plus budget gap. The only way to tackle this problem is to make major cuts to programs and sadly to staff and/or benefits. One only needs to watch the news or read the paper to see that public agencies are in trouble.
The City of Placerville was able to reduce their expenditures by the employees taking a 10% pay cut, changes to their retirement and insurance contributions just to name a few. The CSD could learn something from the way Placerville does business. I fear that the CSD will be forced into bankruptcy if they continue down this road. You cannot keep taking money out of the piggy bank without putting it back. Sooner than later, there will no more piggy bank money left.
May 2, 2012 at 5:30 pm there will be a budget workshop held at the community center. I urge the residents to get involved. We need people to ask the tough questions, where is our money going?