This is OUR Community - It's time to step up and claim it!

Thanks to a Federal Grant of $21 million dollars, and Major Funding by Organized Labor, I've been to avoid projected layoffs and raise the snarkiness factor by an additional 22%!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More from Ray The Accountant

I just love it when others take up the slack in places where my talents just aren't there. Like you, I've heard the comments about doubling police coverage on our streets after incorporation. I've also heard about the new grant money that will put 50 deputies back on the streets (for the next three years). But I've had to trust that others know what they are talking about on this. Ray, being an accountant, heard the same promises, but was able to sift through the LAFCo numbers and county budgets, and demonstrate what makes sense and what doesn't in these claims.

I will make one slight correction to Ray's piece, just to keep the facts straight. Matt Powers, council candidate, did not retire from the Sheriff's Department. He was a Deputy Chief with the Sac City P.D. He also teaches police procedure to new cops at A.R.

I like it when Ray talks. Like me, he doesn't have a dog in this race. Just a guy who wants to make life better for himself and his family. When someone can write about finance and keep my interest, it's a great read. Enjoy


OMG! I heard it on the radio again today! In a radio debate heard on KTKZ the morning of 10/20/10, Joel Archer said that if we vote yes on Arden Arcade cityhood, the new city could double the number of Sheriff’s patrolling our streets. Is he crazy? The Sheriff’s department has been cut by the county. And then, Dr. Duveneck said during the same broadcast that the area would lose the CHP, and that would cost the new city another $2 million plus to replace them. How in the world can we afford that without new taxes? It doesn’t make sense.

As an accountant, I hate to take statements that appear to be too-good-to-be-true as serious. And, yet, I have talked to Joel Archer many times. He is a very positive person, who deals with financial issues as a career and is not one to mislead people. So I had to prove to myself how he could make such a statement.

I have also met Matt Powers and Bob Stevens for some insight into this contention about doubling the Sheriff’s patrols. Both of them have retired after long careers in the Sheriff’s department. In an effort at full disclosure all three are also running for city council.

So let’s look at the first piece of evidence needed to justify the claim above. As you might have guessed, I started with the independent financial analysis authorized by LAFCO that was completed using the 2008-2009 tax year. The actual dates of that tax year were 7/1/2008 through 6/30/2009.
On page 15, of this 81 page report, which you may also read at your leisure, is the Scenario 2 analysis, which shows the budget that was prepared on which we will be voting. The 7th line under costs in the middle of the page shows a minimum amount of $15,100,000 per year for Police services, which was the share of Arden Arcade’s portion of the Sheriff’s budget for the same period 2008-2009. I am not in a position to challenge the budget number as either high or low. However, if you would let me continue, I will prove Joel’s assertion, which has also been made by some of the other candidate’s as well; an assertion that will hold true no matter what the actual amount may be.

Now I need to introduce the second piece of the puzzle. Thanks to Matt Powers for this information. On the Sacramento Sheriff’s website is the 2010-2011 Sheriff’s budget that was presented to the county supervisors this year. On page 14 of 28, the field staffing numbers are shown. These numbers represent the actual deputies in the field for the years 2008 to 2009. It is important to note that the report shows a total number of officers in 2008 as 537. The 2009 totals due to the budget cuts lowered this number by 244, to only 293.

Now here is the point for the need of both sets of information. The Sheriff’s budget and number of officers in 2008 was the amount used in the LAFCO report, since the budget year of the Sheriff’s department coincides with the 2008-2009 county budget year. It was in 2009, the year following the LAFCO report that the Sheriff’s and staff were cut.

We have all heard that the Sheriff’s department received a temporary 3 year grant that will put 50 officers back on the street. So instead of losing 244 officers we are losing 194. I'm glad we can add more officers, but it only goes a small way to getting back to the real staffing needs of the department.

Per the report we are still missing over 115 detectives, the Community Problem Orientation Police (POP) and the Street Narcotics Detectives, plus the separate officers from SWAT and Canine. Finally, these numbers do not include additional in office staff that were also laid off in 2009. (Also see the last 7 or 8 pages for the dangerous levels of service that the whole county is getting as a result.)

Bob Stevens stated in a meeting at El Camino High School on Tuesday night that the 2008 levels represented .77 Sheriff’s deputies per 1000 citizens in the county and that the 2009 levels, with the addition of the new officers, represented .44 deputies per 1000. Without the 50 officer increase, there would only be .38 deputies per thousand. So when Joel and others say we can double the officers for the city without new taxes, it is because the LAFCO budget was originally based on a higher number of deputies and office staff than we currently have in the Sheriff’s department. And the main point is not whether it is twice or 75% more, it is the fact that there will be more Sheriff’s on the street and probably some of the additional staffing cuts will return as well. That is why the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff’s Association is urging a “Yes” vote on Measure D.

Finally, in answer to the CHP question, it is important to remember that the focus of the CHP is traffic, both freeways and streets. They are a regional service provided by the state to the counties, and will continue to provide backup assistance when needed. When the area is incorporated, the contracted deputies or other police services will have the primary responsibility for crime and traffic. The CHP will never show up at your door if you report a crime, but they may still pull you over for a traffic stop in the new city limits if they are needed. Other cities in the area work hand in hand with the CHP on traffic issues regularly. The new city does not lose CHP services; they will only take a smaller role in our policing needs since we will have greater policing services. The independent report authorized by LAFCO also took this information into account at the time so there will be no additional costs.

So, once again, I urge all readers to ask questions, and find out the facts. Please don’t rely on claims that sound good, but do not have an independent source or two to back it up.

Ray, the accountant, who will be voting “Yes” on Measure D, to provide Arden Arcade with the ability to have a “safer, cleaner neighborhoods with no new taxes”. I hope you will join me.

P.S. These observations are solely based on my own research. I am not running for any office and will have no financial benefit whatsoever from the new city, except maybe a stabilized or improved property value in the future due to the area's revival.

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