Where Did $70 Million Go?


In October of 2015 your Goodyear City Council voted to double your water and wastewater rates over the next 5 years.

Why?

Because they said they needed to spend about $50 million in capital to upgrade the city’s water and wastewater system.

But an analysis of Goodyear’s water, wastewater and sanitation revenues and operating expenditures over the past five years from 2011 until 2015 shows that since 2011, Goodyear has collected about $70 million dollars more than these enterprise funds have spent on operating costs during the same period.

Goodyear has collected over $140 million dollars in fees for water, wastewater, and sanitation, from 2011 through 2015 while the cost to operate those same entities has only amounted to a little over $70 million dollars. And now they need to double your rates because the systems need $50 million in capital? Does that make sense to you?

They say they need to double your utility rates over the next five years but it appears that they have already been collecting nearly double the operating costs since 2011, a whopping $70 million dollars.

This is the same City of Goodyear city council who is in debt to the tune of $400 million dollars, can’t afford to pay principle on it’s $100 million dollar baseball stadium, but always seems to have plenty of money for pay hikes, trips to Washington DC for council members, and $12 million dollar buildings that only appraise at $8 million. It looks like they have been over collecting on utility bills in order to keep up their reckless spending instead of saving the money for capital projects.

Details
In FY 2015, (most recent year actual values are available) the City of Goodyear charged taxpayers nearly $12 million dollars for water services. But according to Goodyear Budget documents, Goodyear only SPENT $6.8 million supplying water to Goodyear taxpayers.

That’s a $5 million dollar difference between what Goodyear collected and what they spent supplying water.

In the same year, Goodyear collected $13.1 million from taxpayers for wastewater. Budget documents show Goodyear spent only $4.7 million operating wastewater. An $8.4 million difference.

And finally, in FY15, Goodyear collected $6.9 million for sanitation, and spent $5.8 million. A $1.1 million difference. And they contract out sanitation.

So in FY 2015, Goodyear collected nearly $15 million dollars MORE for your UTILITIES than what they spent providing them.

A one time event?

They had other unexpected costs that year?

They had some new capital expenses they had to collect for?

It’s not a one time event. They’ve spent the money elsewhere.

Still don’t believe it?

Schedule 6 of the Goodyear Budget is called, “Interfund Transfers.” Here is a link to just the past two years of Schedule 6 “Interfund Transfers.” goodyear-intrafund-transfers

You will see in my notes on the pages, (funds taken OUT of Utilities and put Into General Fund) that every year millions of dollars have been moved from the utility “Enterprise Funds” into the General Fund.

Why?

Like I told you, so Goodyear City Council could spend your utility money elsewhere.

Mail Fraud?


img_6374Did you get this laughable advertisement in the mail this week?

I was going to write this week about how Goodyear has been overcharging you by millions of dollars every year on your utilities (water, wastewater, sanitation) but then I found this nonsense in the mail and figured I might as well give you the real facts instead of GEOrgia’s made up ones.

This will be short. I’ll take each of her claims line by line.

Georgia says in her ad that she;

  1. Reduced the city’s food tax. She doesn’t tell you that she was part of the group who originally put it in and she also doesn’t tell you that its a big nothing, a few hundred thousand dollars a year.  I think on a $100 food bill it “saves” you about 25 cents.
  2. Saved taxpayers $27.4 by refinancing.
    Schedule 4 of the City of Goodyear Budget document is called “DEBT SERVICE.” As most of you probably know that means how much money the city pays out each year for all of its outstanding loans. Goodyear has a lot of loans. About $400 million dollars of loans.
    The FACTS ARE,
    Goodyear’s FY 17 Schedule 4 states the following;

    Actual FY15 debt service of $19 million dollars.
    Estimated FY16 debt service of$25 million dollars.
    Budgeted FY17 debt service of $27 million dollars.

    Does that sound like SAVINGS to you?
    Maybe GEOrgia feels that when she spends only $80 a month for make-up because there is a 20% sale at Kohls instead of the $100 a month she normally spends on makeup she is “saving” $20 instead of “spending” $80.
    I understand that Goodyear has been refinancing their loans to take advantage of once in a lifetime low interest rates but I also think they are EXTENDING them. I don’t know that for sure but I suspect its so.

  3. Eliminated structural deficit.  She did this by raising your taxes and utility bills, and overcharging you for utilities and putting the extra money into the General Fund.  (next week’s article).
  4. Streamlined city departments. I guess city management told GEOrgia that a reorganization saved money. They still hired more people and the city budget is over 30% higher now than it was when GEOrgia was elected.
  5. Fought against wasteful spending. Well all politicians say this don’t they?
  6. Lifelong Republican. Well, we all know by now that THAT does not mean fiscally responsible now does it?

Six Years of Making the Ballpark an Even Bigger Loser


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In 2016 Goodyear taxpayers PAID every spring training attendee the equivalent of $62 for every seat purchased.

I assume you all know that the Goodyear Ballpark is a big money loser, (about $10 million per year in losses) that we signed up to a ball park contract that sucks for taxpayers, and that we will never get our promised capital reimbursements from the valley sports authority.

You all know that, right?

But do you realize that Goodyear collects about $7.5 million in TOTAL primary property taxes each year?

ALL YOUR PROPERTY TAXES AND THEN SOME GO TOWARD PAYING FOR THE LOSSES AT THE GOODYEAR STADIUM.

But it’s even worse than that.

Not only is the Goodyear Ballpark a loser for taxpayers, but your city management and incumbent city council have managed to make it an even BIGGER loser year after year after year.

Wouldn’t you think that any responsible public official who realized that MORE than the total primary property tax was paying for a losing investment would do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to REDUCE those loses?

But not Goodyear.

Here are the facts. (Actuals are only available through 2015 so that is as far as I can show actuals. Budget figures are noted.).

Taxpayers pay about $8 million each year in debt service for the bonds that financed the ball park. (Goodyear WAY over charges you for your utilities in order to pay for that but I’ll discuss that in another post.)

But let’s just forget about that for a minute. Its a sunk cost, and unless someone in the city had the will and ability (which they obviously do not) to go renegotiate with the billionaire owners of the Indians and Reds for a better deal for taxpayers, those debt service costs are with us for a long, long, long time.  In fact, the original bonds extended BEYOND the date of the end of the contract Goodyear has with the Indians and Reds. So conceivably, both teams could leave and taxpayers would still be paying off the stadium.

And… Goodyear has NOT paid off any of the near $100 million in PRINCIPLE for the stadium.

And finally, before we leave the debt issue, in November of last year Goodyear said they would refinance and EXTEND further the life of the stadium bonds.

So your grandchildren can pay it off.

But it’s even worse than that, thanks to year after year bad decisions by the incumbent city council on the year to year operation of the ball park.

From 2011 to 2015, Goodyear has increased ball park operating expenditures from $3.5 million per year in 2011 to $4.1 million in 2015 with a peak of $4.3 million in 2014, and they have budgeted $4.4 million in 2017.

If all that spending had increased revenues and lowered operating losses at the stadium, that would be good management. But in fact, since 2011 operating losses at the stadium have increased year after year.

In 2011, the Goodyear ball park had $3.5 million in expenditures.
In 2011, the Goodyear ball park had $1.5 million in revenues.
For a total OPERATING LOSS of about $1.9 million.

In 2012 the operating loss was also $1.9 million but it could have been lower except for an increase in expenditures which rose to $3.7 million.

In 2013 (when the current incumbents were elected) the operating loss increased further to $2.2 million on expenditures of $3.9 million.

In 2014 the loss was $2.1 million on a whopping $4.3 million of expenditures.

But what about the City of Goodyear 2017 Budget?

Goodyear has budgeted its highest stadium operating expenditures yet at $4.4 million and another operating loss of over $2.1 million.

If, during the five years from 2011 to 2015 the Goodyear city council had merely demanded that operating losses at the stadium NOT exceed the 2011 amount of $1.9 million, then taxpayers would have saved over a half a million dollars.

And if they were interested and even capable of managing taxpayer money responsibly, they could have saved taxpayers even more.

Add in the $8 plus million of debt service (no principle payments) and the ball park costs taxpayers over $10 million per year.

That means that thanks to your Goodyear mayor and incumbent city council, Goodyear taxpayers PAY over $62 PER ATTENDEE to attend a spring training game.

Every attendee, every game, all taxpayers. $62 per person who sits in a seat in the Goodyear ballpark during spring training.

I hope you like people from Ohio, because you’re doing them a really big favor.

 

 

Fast Fun Facts About City of Goodyear Finances


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We have an election coming up on March 14, 2017 in Goodyear.

In 2013, Georgia Lord, Joe Pizzillo, and Wally Campbell were elected Goodyear mayor and council members.  All three are running again this year.

During the four years since you elected these three, they have increased the City of Goodyear’s budget over 30% just during their most recent terms.

Here is a link to the City of Goodyear’s 2016-17 Budget.  2016-17 GY Budget.

Here is a link to the City of Goodyear’s 2012-13 Budget. 2012-13 GY Budget.

Everything I include below is directly from Goodyear’s own budget documents.
Go ahead, use the links to check my math if you like, I expect you to.

  1. In FY2017 Goodyear’s budget is $254 million dollars.
    In FY2013 Goodyear’s budget was $192 million dollars.  That is a 32% increase in Goodyear’s budget in only 4 years, or over 8% per year.
  2. In 2017 Goodyear budgets 548 FTE (full time equivalent employees).
    In 2013 there were only 511. An increase of 37 employees.
  3. In 2013 the Mayor and Council expenditures budget was $251,000.
    In 2017 the Mayor and Council expenditures budget is $328,000.  That’s a 37% increase.
  4. Compare that to other city expenditures to be fair, you say?
    In 2013 the Fire Department budget was 102 FTE and $14.4 million dollars.
    In 2017, the Fire Department budget was 102 FTE and $16.5 million dollars. A 14% increase. Less than half of what your mayor and city council have budgeted for themselves.

I hope to interview the four candidates running against Georgia, Pizzillo, and Campbell in another post but here is a quick summary.

  1. Jim Cavanaugh wants to be mayor again. He says he will cut spending.
  2. There is a former ice skater named Sara Gilligan who apparently thinks the world of the incumbents (they’re “solid” she says on her website).
  3. Brannon Hampton is trying again for city council. I interviewed him the last time he ran and at least he has some business background.
  4. Jason Black is a principal at a local school.

Based upon the tax and spend track records noted above of the incumbents, I don’t know how any of those running to unseat them could be any worse.

How To Cut Goodyear City Council’s Property Tax Increase in HALF


If Goodyear city council would simply eliminate their own city subsidized healthcare, dental, and life insurance benefits packages, Goodyear could easily save HALF of Goodyear city council’s proposed 2% property tax increase to taxpayers and pass along the savings by reducing the proposed increase to 1%.

I’m not talking about benefit reductions to any other city employees, just the seven council members.

If GY city council had the will to do it, it’s that easy.

From Goodyear’s own website, Goodyear City Council’s proposed 2% property tax increase is expected to raise $153,000.

Just the three recently re-elected Goodyear council members Stipp, Osborne, and Lauritano who all ran as “fiscal conservatives” less than 90 days ago, receive annual health, dental, and life insurance benefits of over $60,000 per YEAR

Just for these three.

Add in the rest of the 7 dwarfs’ benefits package costs and HALF of your proposed 2% property tax increase could be eliminated.

I did not hear any of the re-elected incumbents tell voters that they were running for re-election for the city provided healthcare benefits, did you? If the recently re-elected “fiscal conservatives” are really serving on Goodyear city council as “public servants” why not just eliminate their luxurious benefits package and pass along a 50% reduction in YOUR property tax increase?

I’ll tell you why. Because Stipp, Osborne, Lauritano, and Pizzillo are all on city council for the free health care, that’s why. Where else can you get free health care for attending nine three hour meetings a YEAR and when you can even have other jobs and call in to the meetings?

Don’t belive me?  You have the opportunity to ask them why they won’t do it at their June 22 public meeting  to take questions about the tax increase.

Unless they decide not to respond to questions just like at city council meetings.

* 18 month data. Multiply by 2/3 to annualize.
Joanne Osborne
Salary: $12,511.67
Benefits including personal and family healthcare, dental plan, and basic life insurance: $29,948.32
Travel Expenditures: $4,642.72
Total Expenditures: $47,102.71

Bill Stipp
Salary: $12,384.75
Benefits including personal and family healthcare, dental plan, and basic life insurance: $29,876.56
Travel Expenditures: $3,225.87
Total Expenditures: $45,487.18

Sheri Lauritano
Salary: $12,384.75
Benefits including personal and family healthcare, dental plan, and basic life insurance: $29,852.76
Travel Expenditures: $3,950.36
Total Expenditures: $46,187.87

 

All three of these individuals ran on promises of “fiscal conservatism.” In order to cut the recently announce

Tax Increase Will Pay For GY Council’s New Spending On THEMSELVES


Goodyear’s announced plan to increase property taxes 2% or about $150,000 will just about cover the new spending that Goodyear City Council has approved for ITSELF since 2008.

In 2008, Goodyear spent $177,000 on “Mayor and City Council.”

In 2014, Goodyear City Council budgeted over $300,000 on “Mayor and City Council,” a difference of $125,000 plus.

One could say that they are just raising your taxes to pay themselves more. That is a more than 70% increase in a little over 5 years…. During a recession.

AND YOU PEOPLE JUST RE-ELECTED THREE OF THEM!

More details here:

https://howardsgoodyearblog.com/2015/01/29/government-dream-jobs-goodyear-city-council/

Theme From Rush Limbaugh


Another Allme Productions hit! 

And…. 

A great Akron, Ohio ballad!!

Rush uses the bass line start of this early 80s song by Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders as his radio theme song.

Chrissie graduated from Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio in my brother’s class of ’69. (I’m FHS ’71) I think she sang in the choir with him but I never knew her, in fact neither of us know anyone who knew her, I think she must have been a relatively quiet,  average kid.

Anyway….

This song is about Akron and you probably have to be from Akron in that era to know what she is talking about and appreciate it but I am intimately familiar with everything she says so I like the song even though it’s a bit boring. 

What really happened is that the rubber companies started closing down in the late 60s and by the 80s the town was a ghost town.

Of course, it does not appear Chrissie really understood all that (she had been away in London trying to become a rock star) so in her song the attempts at “redevelopment” come out as “all their fault.”

Artistic license I guess. LOL

And no, I’ve never met her.

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