The Star-News


Eyes must be wide open as Chula Vista voters consider Prop. H

Sat, Oct 30 2010 12:00 PM Posted By: Jim Sandoval

During the last four years, the city of Chula Vista has made great progress in three areas: efficiency, streamlining and financial stewardship. Let me explain.

Efficiency: We have initiated efficiency reviews of all city departments; and we have teamed with Goodrich Corporation to train our management employees to become more efficient.

Streamlining: The city has cut 259 positions during the time period when the city grew by over 100,000 residents. We have cut over $40 million annually in expenditures and associated services. The number of executives has been reduced by 38% and their promised compensation by 25%. We have cut the overall management staffing by 40%, and most importantly, we are fully engaged in comprehensive pension reform.

Financial stewardship: Chula Vista has become excellent stewards of the public monies by adopting conservative budget policies and practices. We have initiated budget oversight recommended by citizen economic advisors. Five-year budget forecasts have been developed and we've created a long-term financial strategy.

Despite the above reforms, we face a deficit of $12.5 million next year.

The city has collected telecommunications users tax (TUT) for more than 40 years. The tax on the average bill is between $1 to $3 dollars a month. This is not a new tax. In fact, I urge voters to look on their current telecommunications bill to see what they are paying now. Proposition H is a ballot measure that would modernize ordinance language to allow the city of Chula Vista to continue to collect these monies (approximately $6 million annually). If Proposition H fails, the deficit we face next year will grow to more than $18 million.

There has been much speculation and debate over Proposition H. As a city official, I am not allowed to campaign, but I can, however, provide a few examples of what the loss of $6 million in TUT would represent and what the public impacts would equate to:

*Closure of a public library and reduction of hours at others

* Closure of five city recreational facilities

* Reduced street maintenance

* Reduced tree trimming

* Eliminate graffiti removal

The city will respect whatever decision is made by Chula Vista voters on Nov 2. It is only fair, however, for them to make their decision with eyes wide open.

Sandoval is the Chula Vista city manager.


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