Editor's note: Tim O'Neal wrote the following email to members of the Imperial Beach City Council ahead of their meeting Wednesday about a preliminary 2013-15 budget that cuts funding to the Sports Park before the public had a chance to comment.
Dear City Council,
Because I will not be able to attend tonight's meeting, I respectfully ask that you consider the following comments in your discussion of agenda item 6.1.
I understand that item 6.1 is just a first look at the fiscal year 2013-2015 budget, and I know that your final vote won't come until May or June. However, after reading over the material that was submitted as Last Minute Agenda Information (LMAI) for this item, I feel it's absolutely necessary to voice my concerns with the budget this early.
1. On page 18 (Budget Highlights) it states "Sports Park Operations not funded." As far as the public knows no contract with YMCA and the City has not been finalized. So, can the public assume that the Sports Park will not be funded regardless of the outcome of the negotiations with the Y? What contingency plans, if any, exist if a potential a deal with the "Y" falls through?
It's quite clear that city staff considers laying off five current Sports Park employees and the possibility of causing a substantial financial hardships upon the Little League, Girl's Softball, and the public as a "highlight." I see unfunding our Sports Park as a "lowlight" and something that we should be ashamed of.
2. On page 18 (Budget Highlights) it states the budget "Allows for employee compensation adjustments." Why all of sudden are pay increases being proposed? Was there a deal with the employee's union in the past that requires you to provide increase now?
I'm sympathetic to the fact our city employees haven't received a raise in a while. But, I also think it's completely inappropriate to consider pay increases at this time.
Not too long ago city staff and Council stated publicly that the reason you're attempting to contract with the "Y" is because you can't afford to run the Sports Park. So, no money for IB's youth, but plenty of money for raises for city staff?
3. On page 3 (Sound Budget Principles) it states "City employees are our most important asset." Whether or not this statement is true, really doesn't matter.
But it shows a palpable disconnect between the residents of Imperial Beach and our city government. The Imperial Beach's public/government relationship needs to improve if our city is ever meant to prosper.
Thank you for your consideration. Sorry for the last minute submission.
What do you think? Should the city turn its Sports Park over to the YMCA? Share in comments.