Monday, September 6, 2010

Some words George Hartzman intends to deliver to Greensboro's City Council about borrowing and spending more, on September 7, 2010

George Hartzman, 2506 Baytree Drive

I believe Greensboro’s City Council
should delay voting to borrow more money
until unreleased details of the City’s finances are made public.

In May, I asked the city what the gap was
between The City of Greensboro’s 2009 spending
and 2010’s expected revenues, otherwise known as the budget deficit,
and the information request has not been answered.

In April, the Greensboro News and Record reported
the city could afford $75 million worth of projects over the next two years
including a Library, the Aquatic Center and a recreation center
without a tax increase, by eliminating jobs and loose leaf pick up.

If Greensboro’s government believes a tax hike is unnecessary for the new debt,
how is anyone supposed to agree,
if the city won’t release information and/or the news industry won’t report it?

Why would who not want Greensboro’s residents to know
what the government shortfalls are expected to be?

In May, we were warned of shortfalls and closed or canceled libraries,
and the elimination of school crossing guards.

In June, we ended up with a tax cut and a bigger budget than the year before.

On July 6, I re-sent the information request to the City,
including questions about 2008 spending and 2009’s revenues,
and 2010 spending and 2011’s expected revenues.

On July 19, I asked for the City's total fund balances at the end of 2008,
and at the end of 2009, and the anticipated year end balances for 2010,
including statutory minimums.

None of this information has been released.

Should Greensboro’s press corps feel obligated to inform the public
as to how much cash Greensboro is spending?

Does Greensboro's press corps prohibit itself
from disclosing what the City of Greensboro's actual budget deficits are?
If not, why, and if so,
why haven't Greensboro’s actual deficits been reported by the press?

How can Greensboro's residents determine
if borrowing more money is a good idea, if the City of Greensboro
doesn’t release enough information for anyone to figure it out?

What happened to the crossing guards, loose leaf pick up
and the $9.26 million “shortfall”?

From what I think I figured out, Greensboro’s 2009’s net revenues
were about $9 million less than 2008’s,
and 2010’s net revenues are expected to be almost $8 million less than last year,
yet the city intends to spend a million more.

It is my understanding that to accomplish higher spending
with about $17 million less income than two years before,
Greensboro intends to use more than $30 million of savings in 2010,
after spending almost $22 million of savings in 2009,
on top of spending more than $33 million in 2008.

If it’s true that 2008's net revenues were $410 million,
and 2009's net revenues were $401 million,
and 2010's expected net revenues are $393 million,
as the city draws down $85,633,808 of savings in three years
doesn’t it seem counterintuitive
that we are going to spent $1 million more this year than last,
and borrow millions more without a tax increase
as our income is falling?
Is it justifiable for a community’s elders
to spend millions on themselves for future generations to pay for?

Should we borrow more money to spend on what we don’t need?

Does most of Greensboro’s adult population realize
the city’s young will have to repay the principle and interest?

Is Greensboro’s City Council trying to temporarily stabilize the economy,
by borrowing from relatively younger voters and their children,
who may not reap the prosperity of their parents?

If Greensboro’s City Council is supposed to act in the population's best interests,
how can this debt be justified in the face of falling revenues,
with Guilford County facing what looks like a $73 million budget deficit,
while the State of North Carolina
faces somewhere between a $3 and $7 billion shortfall next year
as federal stimulus dollars evaporate?

Why not delay voting on this debt
so the public can be informed of the actual numbers involved?