SANTA ANA — In a story this morning Voice of OC reported Adam Elmahrek reports that the City of Santa Ana is facing a massive budget shortfall of “close to $30 million,” 14% of the city’s $213 million general fund budget.
Council members have been more forthcoming, but they haven’t offered much in the way of specifics either. A public announcement on the budget is expected at some point during a council meeting this month, but even on that officials are being vague.
“We’re going to have to look at everything from salary and benefits — to how we order paper — to what services we’re providing,” said Councilman David Benavides.
Earlier this year, the city awarded a $98,900 contract to the municipal consulting firm Management Partners Inc. to, among other things, craft a budget stabilization plan that would address the city’s structural deficit over the next five years. Yet, not only has that plan not been released to the public, Councilman Vince Sarmiento acknowledged that even he hasn’t seen it.
Read Adam’s entire story here.
It seems that this may be what some Council members were talking about when they decided to delay the City manager search process until late this year. One would think that with a budget deficit this huge, the council would want to get strong, permanent, leadership on board. Not in the Banana Peel Republic of Santa Ana.
I can’t help but wonder how much in the way of financial mismangement is at fault for the shortfall showing up weeks after the approval of the budget. This is a city after all that allows contracts, like the one for management recruitment, to run over budget in violation of municipal code. What is disturbing is that the council clearly had to have discussed these shortfalls in the context of their closed session conversations about the City Manager search. To add insult is the fact that the city is still keeping the shortfall out of public view.
I guess they think folks should just sit back, relax and not worry because “we’ve got it handled.” Right.