Rialto’s Budget Advisory Committee Proposes to Bring Back PERS Tax

Look we don’t want to say we told you so but…. we did!

We told you it was only going to get worse and we told you that the people leading this city could care less how much people struggle and how expensive it already is to live in the Inland Empire. Yes the Police, Fire and City Staff want to squeeze every bit of money you have until you are sucked dry!

The video above is a portion of the Facebook Live we did at the last Budget Advisory Committee meeting. In this meeting a tax that was fought off years ago never went away and there are a lot of people on the committee that want to bring it back including Police and Fire union reps. The fire union thinks you will be ok with another tax because this one can’t be abused like the Utility Tax, Trash Road Fee and all the grant money that spills into the city. You see this money can only be used to Pay PERS, it wont cover all of it but will cover a portion of the massive $20 Million a year (growing by $1.5 Million a year).

So ask yourself, Are you ready for ANOTHER tax?

Hmm seems like we have been saying that a lot lately? We wonder if the people are going to wise up soon?

More taxes on the horizon are:

  • Increased gas taxes
  • Sales Tax
  • Fire Tax

Heck soon you will be taxed on the air you breath!

Rialto After the June Primary Elections

 

Anyone that felt like I did about the June 5th Primary here in Rialto probably said “why did I waste my time”.

City Hall, the Unions in this city and Table Rock Capital the company responsible for the massive water rate increases with nothing more than a few new water meter to show for it made a full court push to remove any accountability from the City Council to spend our money wisely.

The phone calls from prominent people living in Rialto were non stop and made this blogger very sad for Rialto’s future. The police and fire unions did everything in their power to make sure you were scared to tell the city that their reckless spending would not fly any longer.

What was worse were the calls from supporters the next day to fluff their feathers and show off!! The most disappointing one was long time resident Gretta Hodges who was swayed because someone named Mr Willson and Amy Crow said they would be fired if the measure did not pass. These two people who had no idea who would be let go used their power and influence to sway a person who was dead set against loosing the checks and balances of a 5 year sunset.

So I guess everyone is prepared for loss of control and higher taxes for the sake of other people who they don’t even know.

Bright spots after this election?

Jason Anderson beat District Attorney Ramos from his seat in office. Hopefully this means that the Public Integrity Unit will finally start doing their jobs and not allow dirty reckless politicians hide their laundry list of dirty deeds.

The Utility Tax can still be defeated in November as there will be a measure on the ballot to undo any tax that isn’t passed by 2/3 of the voters.

A measure to roll back harmful gas and car registration fees will be on the ballot giving taxpayers thousands of dollars back in their pockets.

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How Regional Boards Are Eating Rialto Alive

Hello Rialto hope everyone is doing well.

We are just a few weeks away from the City of Rialto asking you to further burden yourself with a Tax (Measure M) that you will no longer ever have control over. We thought it would be good to start spilling out the massive problems with the Mayor and Councils approach to development.

Our fellow video blogger Gary Gileno put together a video about how city councils in other cities have a major impact on the lives of residents like Rialto. The video that Gary posted is about City Councilman and Regional Government Thug Alan Wapner. Why is this important to Rialto? Well many on the Ontario Council have made statements that they don’t fear upcoming unfunded liabilities within the PERS program because they are flushed with cash.

What most people don’t know is that the Medline Warehouse brings in over $6 Million each year in tax revenue Rialto only gets $3 Million each year. The other $3 Million goes to Ontario because of a deal Ontario worked out with Medline. Yes we took on a tenant that still has to pay money we should get to a city FLUSHED with CASH!!!! Must be a nice problem to have.

All of this was done without even letting the public know……..

Watch the video above and see what else this demon and his cohorts have planned for cities like Rialto.

While we get shorted on the full tax bill for these massive warehouses our roads are torn apart, our air gets more dirty and dangerous Big Rigs take over our roads.

Common Sense Says No To Measure M

TheREAL FACTS About Measure M
  • Measure M is a tax increase. The 8% Rialto Utility Users Tax (UUT) was given to the city council and all they did is abuse the tax and waste time and money. Now to remove any responsibility to the voters they are giving themselves a permanent TAX increase FOREVER!!!!!!!
  • This levy on utility bills provides roughly $14 million in revenue per year. These funds go into the General Fund and are abused by the city. The mayor and council play games with your taxes and name buildings and parks after their political allies. The council needs this money to cover the MILLIONS in Lawsuits that they have single handily brought on Rialto Tax Payers.
  • To scare you into voting for this measure the city is using the old scare tactic of taking away police and fire services. Councilman Ed Scott has been Quoted saying that rialto police the bottom of the barrel.
    • The police never respond to complaints and are causing more problems then they solve. Rialto Police are famous for the drive by they do when they respond to a call. This consists of cruising by the location at 45 MPH. Rialto Fire spends more time outside the city under a mutual aide agreement than they do inside the city. Also they are preparing to stack a Fire Tax on top of this one next year. ALL WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT!
    • Reducing the Public Works Department by 11 positions, will make little change since the city looks horrid as it is so nothing will change.
  • Had it not been for dedicated people like us the Council was HELL bent on charging this tax on all seniors!
  • Rialto Fire charges annual fees to pick you up in an emergency leading to more people avoiding calling for help and risking further injury by waiting or self transport.
  • Rialto charges you a TRASH TAX because BURRTEC trucks are too heavy for Rialto streets but we can’t charge BURRTEC for it because they are political allies of Mayor Robertson.
  • $100,000 a year is paid so that our elected leaders can travel all over the country on your DIME.
  • Even if this measure passes Rialto will still be bankrupt in 4 years. The only difference is you will be stuck with a Utility Users Tax that NEVER ENDS!!!!!
  • The people signed onto this TAX are doing so to keep the flow of your tax money into their pockets. A small handful have been bullied into signing on to this tax. Multiple people have reached out saying that the Mayor said get on board or else.

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Are the Friend’s of Rialto K9 Association Another Problem In Rialto’s Finances?

This past Saturday the annual Fallen Officer Memorial 5k was held. One thing that stood out to us as we watched Councilman Andy Carrizales Instagram Live was a booth from the Fontana Police K9 Pals a non profit that supports the Fontana K9 unit. Now it isn’t totally odd to see an organization that supports another agency at a local agencies event. What is odd is the fact that the Friend’s of Rialto K9 Association are still bared from funding our K9 program.

This all stems from the Termination of K9 Officer Glen Anderson and the Rialto Friend’s objection to allowing the then Police Chief Randy Deanda from taking over control of their group. It has been over a year since the former Police Chief took action against the Friend’s and used scare tactics to try and strong arm members into submission. Now it seems that they have decided to add insult to injury and while the Rialto K9 group is still unable to provide funding our city can’t afford to fund they will celebrate another organization at a city sponsored event.

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Spelling Out Rialto’s Financial Future Without The Utility Tax

Rialto is in a very critical point in our cities existence and many may be looking to the incoming development as a saving windfall. We are here to tell you that this isn’t the case Rialto is in a tough spot and its going to take everyone doing their jobs to get us through it.

The reason we say everyone doing their jobs is right now some staff and the community are the only ones stepping up to the plate and if the rest of the players don’t figure that out, own their bad and get on board with getting things back on track it is going to spell disaster.

Here are the players as we see it and what they need to do to get things moving the right way:

  1. The Community – This group of people have been doing a lion share of the heavy lifting. Most people believe they have no recourse and they must accept bad leadership and money mismanagement. This is not the case even though we may be on a certain leaders team it never hurts to remind those leaders we support we can no longer give them blanket support for a laundry list of bad calls. You can see how the city council is fracturing as they all split off to their specific groups and ask for help with dealing with the others. When it comes to the Utility Users Tax the community can’t support TAX AND SPEND Liberals in such high majorities when voting and then look at a tax that actually provides us services we all say we want to keep as a bad thing.
  2. The City Council – I have never been a fan of forming a consensus I believe it leads to to many back room deals and excludes the community at large as a few key power groups ideology reigns supreme. Yet on this issue I see it as juvenile to allow the whole city to suffer just to make a political point. I say this because the issue of declaring a financial emergency still hangs in the balance and is holding up Rialto’s ability to see where we are going over the next 10 years. City Council is playing political chicken with our future, information that has come from staff says that City Council is having an issue declaring a state of emergency because we still have a healthy surplus. A surplus that will only afford Rialto a 6 month time frame of stability if the worse was ever to happen. It seems like City Council wants us to be broke and defaulting on loans before we do anything to right our unstable future. I don’t know anyone that would look at their personal or business finances and see a real financial avalanche heading their way and not do anything within reason to stop what seems to be inevitable. One of City Councils epic failures was the 3% at 50 PERS offering. According to sources to help with employee retention Councilman Ed Scott brought this in. Now this program is no longer offered to new employees but employees already in this program have it no matter what.
  3. The Mayor – Mayor Robertson has done a very good job of pushing the blame for failures onto other people or pretending that things are better than they really are. Mayor Robertson is the biggest holdout when it comes to declaring a state of financial emergency in this city and this isn’t the 1st time she has pulled this stunt. Four years ago she pulled the same stunt as she threw a tantrum and asked public safety to make massive concessions like no longer being able to cash out comp, sick, holiday or vacation time, $300 cut in uniform allowance and no raise. Now she is taking things a step further as now Mayor Robertson wants to once again ask Public Safety to forgo a raise, loose all special assignment pay and take everyone back one full step in pay. Remember this is the same Mayor that wanted to give herself a massive raise for a very part time job.
  4. Staff – Staff plays a big role in what is going on here since they seem incapable of giving the Council, Mayor and Community a true and honest look at the consequences of staff recommended actions. Many times staff have fallen on the sword for the Mayor and City Council to shield them from the consequences of their actions. Yes staff works hard and puts in long hours but when they keep the truth from the community or shield the electeds from the consequences of their actions they sully all the hard work they have put in.
  5. City Attorney – Some day we will have a city attorney that doesn’t rip us off (Jimmy Gutierrez) and we will have one that has the testicle fortitude to stand in the gap and advocate for the community rather than cover up for the Council and Mayor. In one case the city has spent $720,000 already in defending the city in a legal case that could have been fixed had someone stopped everyone’s egos. Also the City Attorney needs to remind the Mayor that giving away buildings to friends and political allies is a slippery slope to gifting of public funds. We are not saying this is the case but a property on Riverside Ave in Downtown seems to have changed ownership without any other public consideration and it has a lot of people scratching their heads.

 

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Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

For 15 years the city council has been using the Utility Users Tax (UUT) to supplement our cities ability to operate. It didn’t begin this way the 1st time the UUT was put into place as a way to enhance services and provide a bridge to increased tax revenues that would replace the UUT giving the city the ability to allow it to sunset and go away. Well since then some very big things took place making that a hard pill to swallow, here is what has made that impossible:

  • The recession happened – The ever so wise politicians decided that everyone deserved to be able to purchase a home even if they could not afford it. So they created things like State your own income, 4 year interest only loans and allowed people to sell torn up houses for 10 times what they were really worth. Was it any surprise the whole thing fell down around itself and left cities in a very poor place?
  • RDA Money Taken Away – Gov. Brown in all his wisdom decided to take away Redevelopment money away from California cities. This money helped them grow their city and promote why people should spend their tax dollars there verses other cities. This money also made it possible to afford to give developers sweet deals to bring development to local cities.
  • The City’s PERS contract enhancement in 2010 – As a way to entice employees to sign a new employment contract without a raise as a way to say you will have a sweeter retirement later on.
  • Poor investment performance at CALPERS – This has led to the increased PERS cost in the City of Rialto.
  • Retail has come but – The retail stores and shopping are finally coming but not in the numbers that we were told. The new Lewis Shopping Center will bring no more than the new Super Walmart in the south end. Also Mayor Robertson’s warehouses are bringing more problems and not more money. Still many of the warehouses pay tax to cities like Ontario with agreements that cripple small towns like ours.

So last council meeting our city council and mayor were supposed to look at the cities financial future with the community present. According to Mike Story and Robb Steel at the last Budget Finance Committee meeting that city council had the following issues with the Budget Finance Committee’s recommendation:

  • The Budget Advisory Committee didn’t formally recommend what the committee thought city council should do with the cities surplus. Should it remain at 50%?
  • City Council wants to know if the committee would bless spending the cities reserves?
  • City Council doesn’t feel right declaring a state of physical emergency when we have a budget reserve.
  • City Council wants to increase the amount on businesses to as much as 12% and lower it on residents to 6%.
  • City Council no longer believes that Seniors alone should be exempt from paying the tax only low income seniors.

The reason we titled this story “Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It” the popular saying by George Santayana because we find ourselves walking down a similar path. The last time the Utility Users Tax was placed on the ballot for renewal Deborah Robertson was the lone wolf standing in the way. She was throwing a fit and holding her vote hostage until she got what she wanted. This year she is the problem once again but this time it doesn’t seem like public safety is going to blink. You see we have the #1 fire department in the State if not the Country you are more likely to survive a cardiac arrest event here than anywhere else. Also here in Rialto our paramedic program provides an income for the city budget offsetting fire costs, in every other city in the region these services are paid out to minimum wage workers for a private ambulance agency.

Keeping to the topic of public safety lets not forget that it was former police chief Farrar who did the 1st study on the use of body cameras on police officers. That study led to such amazing results that Rialto was one of the 1st agencies in the USA to use body worn cameras department wide. As you can see from the image above officer use of force has dropped as well as citizens complaints of use of force. Also Rialto is one of the few agencies that still has an active Community Policing program and youth intervention programs that are producing results.

Sadly the writting on the wall with everything going on right now is that our city council is playing chicken with our public services and a massive looming debt. Many members of the Budget Advisory Committee see the Mayor and Councils actions as dangerous ways to run a cities finances. One member said that looking at $170 Million pension and health debt over the next 10 years, not moving the Utility User Tax to a vote and even discussing spending reserves is a dangerous course of action. Another member said that council is saying I know I’m get a pay cut next year but I am taking the expensive vacation anyway, this is no way to budget.

So where are things now? Well Council refuses to address the public again with this topic or even the new information on just how bad our budget looks like if we don’t act now. The Budget Advisory Committee on December 18th will hear just what council and the mayor are looking for in regards to spending reserves and playing with the reserve limits. The topic of making seniors pay for the UUT when they have not been required to in the past will also be discussed. The Budget Advisory Committee is a public meeting even though staff refuses to use the cameras in the room and stream the meetings on You Tube the meetings are public. They start at 6 pm and end at 8pm.

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