Voice of OC: Santa Ana Facing Massive Budget Deficit

Santa Ana City Hall

Santa Ana City Hall, Photo: Chris Prevatt

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.

  3 comments for “Voice of OC: Santa Ana Facing Massive Budget Deficit

  1. cook
    September 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Something to think about.

    If local governments can not provide ;oca; services, then there is not a need for the local governments.

  2. Phil
    September 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

    What’s Nick “Thugadino” and OCEA going to say when the City is forced to start laying people off and outsourcing services to balance this mess. What will big labor’s response be to this cluster. $30 mil is ALOT of money. Can’t tax yourself out of that one. Cuts are coming!! Big cuts.

  3. Marcus Wilson
    September 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    All I can say is that there’s some really long noses at the top of the food chain in Santa Ana. For two decades now city officials have praised themselves as being “the best there is”. “Joe Fletcher is the best City Attorney of all time”, “David Ream is the best City Manager that money can buy”, and “Paul Walters is the best Police Chief in the Country”. With a budget shortfall now of almost 30 million, maybe it’s time for Santa Ana to hire a few younger, cheaper, less capable people.

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