Feb. 15, 2011 — If there was ever a time to get involved in the business of the Susanville City Council that acts on behalf of the citizens of this community, it is this week.
We encourage everyone to change his or her plans and attend the Wednesday, Feb. 16 public hearing on what could be a fiasco waiting to happen. At 7 p.m. this Wednesday, the council, made up of five elected officials, is soliciting your comments on “the possible temporary borrowing from the restricted Water Capital Improvements Fund in order to refund the Plumas Bank golf course note, or a portion thereof. The council will be considering the use of the other available monies as well.”
The Water Capital Improvement Fund is a restricted fund, meaning it can only be used for improvement of our aging water system. Citizens may need to be reminded the minimum base rate for water increased in 2008 by more than $5 per month to establish the fund, and Mayor Lino Callegari stated at the time it is designed to ensure we continue to get the quality of water we have come to expect. It has taken nearly three years to raise $795,000 in what can also be called a contingency fund. Last spring there was a major break in a Cady Springs water line, and money from the fund was used to make repairs.
At its Dec. 15 meeting, the council approved using $230,000, of the Water Capital Improvement Project Fund to work on Phase I of improving the city’s water infrastructure. The council did briefly consider balancing the city’s general fund budget with the fund, but the council eventually said it wasn’t going to touch the restricted fund. However, calling this public hearing suggests the council may have changed its mind, it is in such dire financial straits that it has no other option than “stealing from Peter to pay Paul,” or as acting City Administrator Peter Talia told this paper it has no other avenues to pay off the note except temporarily borrowing money from another account.
We realize the city-owned golf course bank note is a problem the council needs to address. Talia said he would recommend the council not use those water funds, but instead use other funds. He also said if the note is not taken care of, the city would have to sell the golf course. The council agenda does indeed call for the use of other reserved funds to the tune of nearly a half million dollars. But if water capital improvement funds were not really a viable choice, why was the public notice written that way? Is saving the golf course worth the risk?
If you can’t attend to the 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 6 meeting at 66 N. Lassen St., Susanville, you can submit written comments to the above address at or prior to the meeting.
Remember you elected them; now make them accountable for their actions.
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