Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Word on Disincorporation

Disincorporation was mentioned briefly at a recent Council meeting. I believe it was put out there more to illustrate how truly serious our budget deficit is right now, than something that is currently being considered.

I'm just one of seven Council members, but to me, disincorporation is not an option. Vallejo has too rich a history and too many people who love her to ultimately cede to the County. Last year, bankruptcy was our last and only option to get our fiscal house in order. We need to make that work and get out of it so we as a city can start healing.

We have to work together to fix our structural budget deficit and get out of bankruptcy -- the Council, city employees, Vallejo businesses, and Vallejo residents. But before we do that, we have to balance our budget by July 1, and we have a $9 million deficit. We can't keep cutting services to the public to balance the budget. I don't want to lose more police officers or close more fire stations -- we must start cutting our expenditures. We need our employees to take a one-year pay cut, five to 10 percent depending on salary levels. This must be top to bottom. And every employee should pay 25 percent of their health care costs. That's a start that would get us near our goal of a balanced budget on July 1, 2009.

That would give us breathing room to resume discussions on how to take the next step, which is solving the structural deficit and getting out of bankruptcy.

We'll be talking about the budget again at next week's Council meeting. I certainly hope that everybody is thinking about how they can contribute to Vallejo's recovery. Ideas are definitely welcome, so please e-mail me any suggestions you may have.