Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Funding for K Street Streetscape

The K Street's streetscape project includes paving materials, street furniture, trash receptacles, landscaping, lighting, enhanced intersections and gateway elements and relocations of two Regional Transit ( RT) mini-high platform stations between 8th & 12th Street costing $5,733,111. With Police layoffs and other budget cutbacks now under way I was vary curious as to where the money was coming from to do this project, so here it is: Redevelopment Agency of the City of Sacramento Tax Increment Funds in the amount of $5,328,515, Park Development Funds in the amount of $4,596, Transportation Funds in the amount of $400,000. Tonight the City Council will authorize an additional $50,000 for the project to be used for repair and maintenance of landscape irrigation on K Street.

This streetscape project is a separate development than the opening of K Street to traffic which is expected to cost an additional 2.7 million.

I can’t believe K Street improvements are a higher priority for funding than the funding of having more police on the streets, but that’s where we are today in this city and many others across the country.


Matthew said...

I'm actually okay with this.

somebody else said...

Really Matthew? Just wait till crime really spikes and gets worse, it's already happening in many big cities on the east coast. Currently, Sacramento ranked in the top 20 cities for violent crime and if you look back to the 70's and 80's it can get much worse.

Anonymous said...

Do you want to CREATE additional revenue to help solve problems during an economic downturn? Or do you think cutting costs and being conservative will REALLY solve problems?

Can tax increment monies set aside like this from before even be moved? Let alone moved to fund city services that the general fund is supposed to handle?

Picture you own a struggling fast food joint. You can cut labor. You can cut food cost. You can renegotiate your rent. At the end of the day though, you're not going to really solve your problem until creative measures are implemented to INCREASE REVENUE. You got to sell more burgers. How ya gonna do that? :)

Zwahlen Images said...

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I’m all for upgrades and developments in the central city that improve rundown areas. The issue is; will it matter if upgrades have been made if an increase of violent crimes has the opposite effect of drawing people into the city? The cities first priority is to protect its citizens; if they can’t even do this, then they have failed to meet their most basic duties in managing the city. If crime continues to get worse with few police on the street, expect families to move to the suburbs while others avoid the city all together. All you have to do is look back in history to see that when economics times are tough, crime spikes.

Anonymous said...

If safety is that concerning and problematic then pensions should be looked at first. Reductions there are a lot more efficient and logical then cutting from the very mechanisms that create jobs and boost the economy. You want to see real crime? Try taking away a person's career...their source of money...their reason to be a productive member of society. Then see what they resort to doing. Drugs, petty theft, loss of hope, and worse yet. Not stimulating the economy is the worst thing you can do to public safety.

Zwahlen Images said...

The City Council won't allow their pensions or anyone else within the city to be touched. Judging by how the City Council handled this last budget, they will cut almost everything but their own retirements. Send a letter asking them to contribute more to their own retirements and you'll hear a hundred reasons why we owe it to them to continue the status quo. Never gonna happen unless the city goes bankrupt.

I like how your thinking Anonymous.

Mark Park said...

Actually the crime rate is declining so the need right now for more police is not that great. I am not sure where "somebody else" is getting their information but they need to check their sources. Crime rates consistently go up and down with the number of youth. And I am one of those
"weirdos" who does not just feel safer with an increase in police. I feel safer with a decrease in teenagers and 20-somethings.

Echocrest said...

Anonymous: while pension reform offers long term benefits to local agencies, it can't do much for them during this economic crisis. Most current public employees have vested property interest in pension benefits they've already accrued. The same is true for retired public sector employees. Consequently, local agencies cannot change current employees' retirement formulas or cut the pension benefits retired employees receive.

While local agencies can change pension benefits for future employees (e.g. by tiering pensions for new hires), the costs savings in the short term are miniscule. This is because (1)the major expense comes when an employee retires, and the retirement system has to start paying benefits; and (2) the number of new employees will almost always be far smaller than the current employees.

If I recall correctly, some have estimated that the best a local agency can hope to achieve by tiering retirement benefits for new hires is something in the neighborhood of 1% (or less) during the first first years. Obviously, there are savings to be had, but most of the savings are realized 30 years down the road, when the agency (or PERS, etc.) doesn't have to pay 90% of the employees' final compensation earnable.

And even then, there could be issues with funding those retirement liabilities if the agency gets "contribution holidays" when times are good. This is something that happened frequently in the early to mid 2000s, when the economy was doing well. Agencies would look at their reserves and decide they didn't need to contribute their share to the employees' retirements, believing they would make enough off their investments to cover the difference.

I guess this is just a long winded way of saying that pension reform is a good idea, and a popular issue for politicians right now, but it can't offer the City money in the short term to spend on K street and avoid laying off public safety employees at the same time.

/not a public employee

liz said...

Echocresthas chimed in to tell us the status quo is the ONLY way. A true bureaucratic muckety muck telling everyone to not change a thing because public sector employees need their generous retirement packages. And don't ask them to pay more into it like the private sector because that would be asking too much.
Echocresthas, you are so a public employee.

Echocrest said...


I think you misunderstood my comment. I am in favor of pension reform. However, it is not a short term solution to the City's budget problems.

The City is legally prohibited from cutting pension benefits retired employees are currently receiving or changing the retirement formulas for current employees. This leaves the City with three options: (1) tier pension benefits for new hires; (2) increase the amount employees must contribute toward their pensions; or (3) find the money elsewhere.

Option 1, as I discussed in my last post, won't save the City much money in the short term. The real savings realized from tiering pensions comes when the new employees start retiring (i.e. 30 years or so from now).

Option 2 doesn't save the City as much money as it claims it needs -- at least according to the unnamed budget officials cited in today's Bee article about police pension contributions.

My point is that pension reform is not going to solve the City's current budget deficit. The City needs to find other, more immediate sources of cost savings.

/still not a public employee

Zwahlen Images said...

I think this discussion is just the beginning of what were going to hear nationally in the dealing of public sector employee’s pensions. CalPERS and CalSTRS alone are under funded by a half a trillion dollars and guess who they will be asking to make up the difference? You and me the tax payers... no thanks, I think as a nation were tired of the bailouts.