2-25-09, The Cotati City Council voted in a 3-2 decision to hire an outside consulting firm to poll the community, by phone, to gain support for a local tax measure that could be placed on the ballot as early as November 2009. The benefits of such a tax measure could take months or years to take effect.
Barich and Coleman both voted against the huge spending proposal as the city looms closer to bankruptcy each day. The town expects to run out of city funds and will be insolvent to pay its bills by December 2009 at its current rate of spending.
During public comment on the issue, the vast majority of citizens displayed public contempt against spending any more money on consultants which would spend down the gains the city made recently from the 5% voluntary pay cut offered by the city employees as a gesture of good will to help the city achieve financial stability.
The city spending orgy continues despite the efforts of many who want to see the city spend within its means as the economy worsens. The California jobless rate reached 10.1%, and the likelihood that the community would overwhelmingly vote to throw more money down a hole at City Hall seems overly optimistic at this time.
Some city staff members and city leaders seem obsessed with the notion of raising more revenues at a time when the community is hurting more each day. The $28,000.00 for consultants does not begin to pay for the cost of a special election, nor the city staff time and city council meetings that will be consumed with debating whether or not to place a special tax measure on the ballot in 2009. The final cost of putting a tax measure on the ballot would likely double the $28,000.00 figure paid to consultants and could reach over $60,000.00 with election costs and expensive staff time consumed behind the scenes rallying the troops. The cost of marketing a tax increase to the public by special interest groups or marketing agencies has yet to be taken into account as well.
Gilardi, Orchard, and Guardino voted to spend the money despite the cries from the public that the idea of hiring more consultants at this point in time was too little, too late in the game no matter how well intended. Citizens speaking in opposition of the proposal to spend the city deeper into the hole on more consultants included citizens Shelley Berman, Mike Kurvers, Paul Foti, Barry Harris, Ken Coleman, Adrienne Lauby, Andre Morrow, Joan Simon, Linell Hardy, Patrick McCarty, and others. Not one citizen spoke in favor of the spending proposal.