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Audits – lets have a reality check in 29

By   /   February 7, 2013  /   Comments Off

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Both the city and the water district have outside audits. The water district is required to do so every three years I believe as so is the city.

Never has any irregularity been discovered at either agency.

What is going on is either a misunderstanding of how “flat line” funding sourcing actually works or a deliberate attempt to paint another agency as incompetent.

I challenge yourself and anyone else to draw themselves a simple graph. Once that graph is constructed you, as well as anyone else, will understand how “flat line” funding works and how at the beginning of a funding period it appears that the agency in question is collecting “too much” revenue and how it appears towards the end of that period the agency is “deficit spending”.

Here we go.

Take a piece of paper and draw a straight line across that paper that is 4 inches long. Label the left side of the line 2005 and label the right side of the line 2013. This line represents the “flat line” funding of the $80.00 per parcel assessment fee.

Place a dot 1 inch below the line directly under the 2005. Place another dot 1 inch above the line directly above the 2013. Connect these two dots. This line represents operating costs commencing in 2005 as compared to 2013.

When Measure “J” was passed in 2005 the water district made a contract with the people to maintain two fire stations with six firefighters on a 24-7 period for a period of eight years. That is exactly what they have done.

By collecting more revenue than was needed to keep that promise from the period of 2005 through 2009 they were able to place the “excess” into a fund balance or reserve. That fund balance or reserve was then used to maintain that contractual promise of two fire stations and six firefighters for the remaining years of 2009 through 2013.

The water district and the fire department have kept their promise and their contract with the people. There have been no “shenanigans” or mismanagement of any funds as some would like us to believe.

What I find disappointing is that our water district reached out to the city in a spirit of cooperation so as to ensure a certain level of public safety for the citizens of this community and what they received in return was a despicable presentation by a man that has a history of divisive and destructive conduct.

So in my estimation either the city manager is ignorant of “flat line” funding as it relates to increasing costs to provide a service or he is deliberately focusing on the last four years of expenditures of the fire department in order to make it “appear” that the fire department is mismanaged.

I leave the conclusion as to what is what to each individual.


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About the author

Steve Spear

Former 29 Palms City Council member from 2002 through 2010. Graduate of Villanova University with a BA majoring in criminal justice. Served in the United States Marine Corps from 1977 through 1990 attaining the rank of Major in the Marine Corps Reserves.

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