Recently at a Rotary gathering, Eureka City Public Works Director Brian Heaton made a presentation discussing the virtues and benefits of Measure I becoming law. There is no disagreement that Eureka’s streets are in rough shape: Try driving the area around Target, known as the Bridge District.
What was revealed at that Rotary Meeting was the backstory of a plan to float a long-term Bond in the $20 million range to leverage that 1/4 percent tax increase and its $2 million-plus annual revenue and cash flow.Two points regarding this bond idea:
1. Bonds are not free. The debt service on this bond will add millions of dollars of financial liability to the already stressed city budget. And, this will diminish the long-term efficiency of monies raised from the proposed sales tax increase.
There is zero debt service on money brought into the city’s coffers from a standalone tax.
In this case, I do not believe increasing our city’s debt with another bond is a good idea.
2. Once those tax revenues are converted to a bond, the lump sum generated from that bond is available to the city’s General Fund to be used at the discretion of the City Council.
We have seen repeatedly over the last few years the lack of management skills and strategic thinking from this current council.Regardless of how you vote on this proposed tax increase, the city of Eureka owes its taxpayers a clear explanation of plans for Measure I money.
Chuck Ellsworth, Eureka