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Pleasanton council approves budget, capital projects for upcoming years

Original post made on Jun 11, 2023

The Pleasanton City Council adopted its two-year operating budget and four-year capital improvement program during last Tuesday's council meeting following months of budget workshops and deliberations.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, June 11, 2023, 4:19 PM

Comments (3)

Posted by Dean Wallace
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 11, 2023 at 9:03 pm

Dean Wallace is a registered user.

The way the City Manager and the Council majority think and speak about budgeting is bizarre to me. Their attempt to spin and contort their decisions, by implying that people don't understand how budgeting works, are just offensive and out-of-touch.

1. From City Manager Beaudin: "Setting capital projects up against police or our water system is a false dichotomy. Capital projects are mainly one-time money and while there are operational and maintenance costs associated with a capital investment, they're not the same as the salary and benefits which live forever in our budget and are compounded over time."

While it's true that capital projects have a big, one-time expense up front – operational and maintenance costs *also* live forever! They're just as permanent as salary and benefits, and they *also* compound over time! Costs go up as things age, and so operational and maintenance costs shoot up over time. See: our aging roads, water infrastructure, and buildings. (Oh, and by the way, who does the operating and maintaining of capital projects? Staff! Staff who come w/salaries and benefits – the very costs that Mr. Beaudin felt the need to point out live forever and compound over time! )

So, no, the people who expressed concern about the costs of capital projects vs. other costs -- they're not setting up a false dichotomy. Mr. Beaudin's statement either proves his odd approach to budgeting, or he’s being purposely obtuse.

2. From Councilmember Arkin: "The option that we were potentially going to consider a year ago had a price tag of about $46 million. So a $5 million, $6 million project, I mean, it can't even begin to address that."

What's $5M, or $6M? Apparently that's nothing to CM Arkin! (I think most taxpayers would say otherwise.) You know who else might say otherwise? Mayor Brown! Because she then ended the meeting wanting credit for $3M (she claims) she got to address PFAS + the $3M more she might get for it. So, is $6M a lot? Or is it not? I’m confused.


Posted by Dean Wallace
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 11, 2023 at 11:32 pm

Dean Wallace is a registered user.

Also, for the record, the amount that Congressman Swalwell secured for the City of Pleasanton to deal with their PFAS infected water is $2M, not the $3M the Mayor continues to cite. And the money came for a very specific intended use, which was: "to construct a new water well in order to offset the loss in clean water and pumping capability that has been lost due to other wells being decommissioned because of dangerous PFAS chemicals."

The document from Congressman Swalwell making the $2M budget request, and specifying its intended use, can be found below. (Note: You may need to copy and paste the link address to a new tab or window, as it links directly to a PDF document and clicking the link below may not open the link correctly.)

Web Link


Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jun 12, 2023 at 8:51 am

MsVic is a registered user.

I applaud Dean Wallace for his very thorough comments on this article.
 
Vice Mayor Jack Balch, who is a CPA, demonstrated his extensive experience with budgets and finance when he pointed out his concerns with the budget assumptions and priorities.  The council majority, instead of considering and understanding these concerns, brushed them aside as they rushed to spend cash on new amenities.
 
Spending cash with so much uncertainty in the near term is not in the best interests of the taxpayers of Pleasanton.  As Vice Mayor Balch pointed out, the majority of economists are predicting a recession.  I have to ask, what cuts would Pleasanton be forced to make if a recession hits, clearly we won’t be cutting spending on a skatepark.


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