I have no problem with a healthy reserve as each entity should strive to achieve it through living within its means. Unfortunately for Ironhouse, they have a healthy reserve at the expense of the ratepayers. In this type of economy, the Board should be considering freezing the rate instead of adding an additional burden to the ratepayers.
In looking at the reserves, its been irresponsible to continue to increase rates as the Board has done each year since 2000. I understand inflation and I understand the “what if” scenario, but not on the peoples backs. Not with $17 million in the bank–or around two years worth of operating budget available.
Since 2000, our rates have increased as little as $6 annually to as much as $60 depending on the year.
What is worse is that during a down economy, at the Direction of the Board, rate increases allowed Ironhouse to maintain their standard of living/operation. They were able to maintain their staffing levels, give pay increases, travel, maintain association memberships and of course build a new facility. All this occurred in a down economy while operating as if the economy was strong.
Compared to the City of Oakley, furloughs occurred, jobs were lost, travel was limited and services were reduced.
In a public information request, I asked for the total reserves since 2000. I asked for this request on August 21 and it was just provided to me a few hours ago. Here is a screen shot of the document. Keep in mind that in 2000, your rate was just $249. In 2006, your rate was $360. Today, its $618.
For those of you who just want the total reserves vs. total funds required to operate, here you go! These numbers were provided to me in the fiscal year budgets I also requested. In the rate column, I’ve also included the annual increase figure.
PDF Provided by Tom Williams: Request 13 – Cash Balance Reserve Analysis by Year
|Year||Rate / Increase||Operating Funds Required||Total Reserves|
|2012||$618 / +$26||$8.389,675||$17,012,405|
|2011||$592 / +$18||$7,138,400||$17,601,896|
|2010||$574 / +$32||$7,048,670||$22,482,738|
|2009||$542 / +$32||Not provided||$23,199,327|
|2008||$510 / +$45||Not Provided||$22,058,002|
|2007||$465 / +$53||Not provided||$19,217,014|
|2006||$412 / +$52||$6,822,130||$18,050,311|
|2005||$360 / +$60||$8,338,445||$16,747,006|
|2004||$300 / +$9||$8,434,695||$10,684,093|
|2003||$291 / +$9||$6,362,421||$10,283,414|
|2002||$282 / +$6||$6,596,650||$10,381,113|
|2001||$276 / +$18||$6,128,560||$8,333,477|
|2000||$258 / +$10||$5,120,044||$6,831,720|
Note: In my email from Tom Williams, I was not provided with the 2007, 2008, 2009 budgets.
While I understand lowering rates will be difficult, at the very worst the Board should freeze rates as the District has not made the sacrifices required to ask for another increase. A Special District should earn a rate increase by living within its means and doing everything to prevent increases, not demand maintaining its budget on the backs of the people it services.