Jay Sowell, Dana Point
A number of concerns are coming to light about our city’s financial situation.
Mayor Lewis revealed last week that while city revenues have risen only 4 percent over the last 10 years, our operating expenses have risen 40 percent, and total government funds have declined substantially.
There are numerous specific examples of poor fiscal management:
Ten years ago our city employed 48 people to support 36,000 residents. We now employ 70 people to serve 34,000 residents.
Dana Point pays the Sheriff’s department $319 per resident for police services. That is the highest rate paid by a contract city in Orange County, and compares to $203 in San Clemente and $166 in Laguna Niguel.
The current staff, and our legacy Councilmen Viczorek, Muller and Tomlinson, did nothing to stop the city from wasting over $1 million on the Strands gate legal fiasco, financing an endless legal battle that only benefited an out-of-town developer and our city attorney’s private law firm.
These Councilmen tried to give away hundreds of thousands of dollars of parking spaces to Town Center developers, even putting up the smoke screen of Measure I to try to confuse voters and thwart the will of the citizens.
And now we’ve learned that these Councilmen and our city staff have allowed runaway expenses that, if unchecked, will soon put the city in a precarious financial position.
We are not getting our money’s worth, and our city budget is headed towards a crisis. This is no way to run a city, and it reflects very poorly on our city staff and legacy Councilmen.
We need change. No more giveaways to developers. No more financial irresponsibility.
Dana Point is currently conducting a search for a new city manager. Let City Council know you want them to hire a manager from outside the city, someone new who promises change, and is committed to making our city run cost-effectively and transparently. We need someone who was not part of creating our current problems, and who is committed to setting our financial house in order.
Our City Council members must put the needs of the citizens of Dana Point first. We elected Mayor Lewis and Council member Wyatt because they promised to be effective and transparent, and to represent residents first. It’s time that council members Viczorek, Muller and Tomlinson got with the program.
Editor’s Note: The statistics cited in this letter have not been confirmed by the Dana Point Times.
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