Letter: Curtailing Unnecessary City Expenditures

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We are in a situation as a nation the likes of which we have not faced since the Spanish flu epidemic one hundred years ago that killed about 675,000 Americans. While the extent of infections and death toll cannot be estimated with any accuracy until widespread tests can be made which likely will not happen until June or July some epidemiologists have made estimates of infections of 160 million and deaths of up to two million unless drastic lifestyle changes are made.

If the statistics gathered when widespread testing can be done support even ten percent of these numbers clearly the government will have to take even more drastic steps than the current ones and will result in a total disruption of the economy resulting in a deep recession and possibly a depression.  Laguna Beach is dependent on the free flow of people without which the city revenue would plummet since a significant part of that revenue is based on sales and bed taxes.  Therefore the responsible thing to do is curtail all non-essential expenditures until we have visibility as to the totality of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.  Let us not waste the reserves in the city treasury because that rainy day has already begun.

I am requesting that the city council immediately examine all proposed expenditures and not fund any item that is not essential to the health and safety of the residents. Contracts such as one to study a parking structure which has already been soundly rejected is an example of unnecessary expenditures. With elections soon to be upon us I am sure this will be a major topic since it looks like the virus situation could have a devastating impact on our revenue while our necessary expenditures cannot result in a corresponding reduction. Therefore the prudent thing to do would be analogous to what most of us are now doing, The city must “hunker down” with respect to spending.

Chris Catsimanes, Laguna Beach

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  1. Thank’s Chris C. I fully agree and have sent the CC a request to halt all council approval actions related to non-essential spending until we get through this crisis that has shut down our town. I hope other residents will do the same. They need to hear from us now.

  2. Got this today from a resident, and think what is going on with our city? no oversight committee, no accountant..we have the highest and most salaries and benefits in the state, including free homes paying for this, only 23,000 residents…People need to get involved and demand accountability..when we have the chance to hire a new city manager that actually works for residents that will be a start, sent to me today :”Why is it that this central CA town (next to Monterey CA) with 22,535 population can operate with a budget half our size? Read their city mission which basically commits to managing their environment and living within their means. Their website is clear and their budget is very easy to read too. Our son is a firefighter there. They don’t even think about being extravagant. I think their fire department is a staff of 12. Ours is what 40+ frier staff and a budget of $10M per year? WTH???

    We have really allowed John P. and CC members to screw up our city over the last decade by promoting and pandering to tourist. Sadly, I think the damage is permanent. “…scary..get involved in what is going on, just care and make your voice heard!


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