Friday, June 16, 2017

Guest Post: The Unaffordable City

City Letter #9

The Unaffordable City

What most people don’t know is that our budget problems didn’t start in 2009 with the Great Recession. We actually had balanced budgets with cautious spending for years. Our problem started four years ago when Mayor Manheimer and her current council came to power. The last four years this council along with our city manager of 12 years, Gary Jackson, have been on a reckless spending spree causing our city budget to explode 70%.  Their out of control spending has caused them to raise Fees & Taxes six times in the last four years.  According to my figures they will need to keep raising them for the next 10 years. This council will need millions of dollars on top of the bond money to keep the government afloat with their current budget obligations. What really bothers me most about this group of self-serving Jackson bureaucrats is the methodical way they mislead the voters.

In last year’s budget they had to raise taxes so it would balance. What’s really scary is that it had a $154 million dollar budget with zero money left for the savings account. This year’s $176 million budget is worse. They had to raise taxes, pass a $74 million bond, and reevaluate everybody’s properties and there’s still ZERO money in the savings account.  How do you do that?  The Jackson bureaucrats hit us with these taxes in the two weeks and the reason they did this was to ensure they have money for their high salaries, which is up $10 million dollars over the last year.

You don’t have to be a mathematician or a business expert to know that if you are spending $90 million in salaries and only taking in $87 million in property and sales tax, that is a huge red flag. Other problems that have contributed greatly is that you have five city managers averaging $250,000 a year, a mayor and council that have zero budget experience and only rubber stamp a budget that is spoon fed to them by Jackson.

Now you can see why the 1% Jackson bureaucrats need to keep feeding the machine. The machine has to pay for high salaries, unneeded greenways, a broke transit system, a river that floods, Belgium Beer Company promises, cheap tourist jobs, water bills and taxes.

The good news is that City Manager Gary Jackson will be retiring and moving away in 2018 which is the year all the bills come due. Unfortunately, he won’t be here to pay the price but we will.

Taxpayers have been lied to in the worst way for years but you won’t read this in our paper or hear it from the Chamber Zombies because they work hand in hand to keep this system going.
Chris Peterson
Asheville, NC

2nd Page - Budget Information

HISTORY OF ASHEVILLE CITY BUDGET SALARIES & BENEFITS

Fiscal Year (FY) Actual Figures
FY 2006
FY 2007
FY 2008
FY 2009
FY 2010
FY 2011
Salaries & Wages
43,476,117
48,183,920
52,247,513
52,078,596
51,070,169
49,595,672
Fringe Benefits
13,430,104
15,775,166
17,324,479
18,583,874
20,497,591
21,201,534
Salaries & Benefits Total =
56,906,221
63,959,086
69,571,992
70,662,470
71,567,760
70,797,206







Total FTE Positions
1060.92
1162.17
1160.05
1148.53
1142.41
1139.83

Fiscal Year (FY) Actual Figures
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014
FY 2015
2016 Projected Actual
2017 Proposed
Salaries & Wages
50,664,726
51,735,685
54,202,619
56,807,685
60,915,323
63,404,183
Fringe Benefits
19,476,861
19,048,729
22,310,427
22,900,506
24,683,958
27,077,277
Salaries & Benefits Total =
70,141,587
70,784,414
76,513,046
79,708,191
85,599,281
90,481,460







Total FTE Positions
1132.24
1139.93
1149.43
1188.38
1204.92
1248.01

HISTORY OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
ROLLING 5 YEAR TOTALS

Each year about $25 to $35 million comes from general fund, the rest is debt financed

Note: FY 2017-2018 includes the $74 million bond for which the City has approved 3.5 cent tax increase to pay the debt charges. This tax will stay on for 20 years.


FY 2013-2014
FY 2014-2015
FY 2015-2016
FY 2016-2017
FY 2017-2018
Capital Improvement 5 year Program
$53,000,000
$132,000,000
$142,197,272
$149,000,000
200,000,000

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