State's Effect of Foster City
Imagine yourself driving on Foster City, Shell, Edgewater, Beach Park, or East Hillsdale Boulevards in a serpentine manner in order to avoid the series of potholes. Visualize if you can that one third of our parks are closed and the rest covered with a brown colored substance where green grass once grew. Let your mind wonder what it would be like having the Recreation Center and Vibe open just three days a week providing less than one third of the programs they offer. Wonder some more about our city with fewer police patrolling our streets and/or fewer firefighters available 24/7 to respond to emergencies. Then add a Foster City without a fourth of July celebration, no Summer Concerts, no Arts and Wine Festival, no Chinese New Year or Polynesian Festival.
If you think that these things cannot happen to our beloved Foster City, you may want to rethink your position. If you have followed articles in the local newspapers lately, you should have noticed the financial troubles facing other cities up and down the Peninsula. Some are closing parks, some are reducing the number of hours services are provided, and some are reducing police and fire personnel all in order to reduce costs to fall in line with reduced revenues.
Foster City has been blessed with leaders that have prudent fiscal management and economic foresight. As a result, our City is fortunate to be in probably the best financial position of any city on the Peninsula. But even with good financial planning, Foster City will be facing a structural deficit in the next few years and like the rest of the Peninsula cities, we will probably be drawing on our reserves and/or reducing services.
Sacramento continues to spend beyond its means – 25 plus Billion dollars in fiscal year 2009-2010 and signs point to the fact that they are already 20 plus Billion dollars in fiscal year 2010-2011. We all know the Federal Government operates on deficit spending, spending more than it receives. Their answer is to print more money. The State does not have the ability to manufacture money and since leaders in Sacramento are allergic to cuts in spending they must look for funds elsewhere. They are “borrowing” from the cities that are charged with public safety and infrastructure. They are borrowing from future revenues which our children and grandchildren will be faced with paying back. Unless Sacramento gets a hold on its spending, they will continue to raid the coffers of the local municipalities.
During the next few months, the City Council will be undertaking the difficult task of taking a “hard look” at our City’s financial situation for the next fiscal year and positioning ourselves for our financial future. Cuts in service levels may be required and life in Foster City may not be the same as it was in the past. I am not a believer in “gloom and doom” but we must face the fact that we cannot and will not spend more than we have. I think that I can speak for the rest of my colleagues in saying that we will do what is needed to sustain the health of our financial future.
The current schedule for the budget sessions is March 22, March 29, and May 10 with all sessions expected to start at 4pm. Your participation and input would be greatly appreciated. If you are unable to attend, you can watch a rebroadcast of the meetings on FCTV Channel 27 on the following day at 1pm or the following Saturday at 5pm.
I would appreciate your comments on this and other issues by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 10, 2010
State's Effect of Foster City