Thursday, August 27, 2009
Let’s put a real face on Carmel’s finances! Mayor Sue McCloud assured readers of Carmel’s strong financial position compared to other cities with its last four years of general fund surplus and reserves of $10.5 million.
This is only part of the picture. Why then has the city failed to pay a number of its outstanding bills? Why are Carmel’s roads, buildings and parks seriously lacking in repairs and general maintenance? And, why is Carmel selling off valuable city assets like parkland, and cultural resources, claiming they need the money?
The city claims that it cannot afford to rehabilitate or maintain Flanders Mansion, and therefore, it must be sold. This claim contradicts the mayor’s facts. How fiscally responsible is it for a city in these difficult times to waste approximately $770,000 and counting on outside attorneys and consultants to fight a group of citizens who oppose the sale of the heart of their largest park for a one-time short-term gain? This money could have been spent on Flanders and cleaning up the park so that the public could be enjoying it today.
Carmel is also involved in a number of significant costly lawsuits, one of which could have been averted long ago, by adhering to the law and meeting with concerned citizens to resolve issues out of court. Many people have requested this in public meetings and letters. These requests have been ignored for years, resulting in another costly lawsuit and election, along with more attorney’s fees. What an unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars.Barbara Stiles | Carmel
The parking and camping fees will go up at our favorite state parks, from between $3-$7 to $10. This will raise about $200,000 this year and up to $5 million over three years. That won’t be nearly enough to keep the state from closing many parks, but the increase will make people think twice about driving into a park. They’ll pick some alternative or walk/bike in.
The recently proposal to add $15 to each annual auto registration fee would have generated hundreds of millions, kept all our parks open and would have given every California auto unlimited access to our parks. Two trips in a year at the new rate would be more than this one-time fee.
There are many thorny budget issues, but this isn’t one of them. It’s time to contact our state lawmakers and demand simple solutions.Meade Fische | Watsonville
In a recent article on Seaside (“Sand City Chamber crawls back from the brink,’’ Aug. 20-26), Seaside Chamber of Commerce board president Patrick Orosco was quoted as saying, “we’ve… settled all our debts.’’ Orosco says he meant to say that the Chamber had paid some debts, and is arranging payment plans for valid remaining claims. The dispute between former board president Dieter Albrecht over the chamber’s former web domain has become the subject of a small claims court suit. Albrecht, who declined comment for the story originally, says the work was authorized by the Chamber board, was performed at his expense and that now the Chamber refuses to pay for the hosting of the website. A Sept. 8 court date has been set.