Recently, Mr. Eber submitted a letter stating that the only opposition to Measure X was from outside the City. Well, I have lived in Petaluma for almost 20 years and I am OPPOSED TO MEASURE X. Why? Several reasons.
The City Council has ignored their pension funding shortfalls for years. The "unfunded pension liabilities" of retired city employees in 2009 was $3.7 million. It is now well over $12 million and growing. This is why the City cannot pay it's bills and cannot afford park maintenance. Pension costs are over 30 percent of the city's entire budget.
That is total mismanagement of our tax dollars, it is not sustainable, and it should have been fixed long ago. But since they did not solve their pension cost problems years ago, now we have to pony up more taxes for our parks.
Next issue and also related to city pensions. Retirees get a guaranteed retirement amount (regardless of how their retirement investments performed). Who pays that bill? We they taxpayers of Petaluma pay that bill. AND, they get to retire at age 50 and 55!
Do you get to retire at age 50? When the stock market tanked in 2009, did your employer make up your 401K losses? Of course not, but the City does for city retirees - and you pay the bill. Most of us won't be able to retire until well into our 60's or beyond and the whole time you will be paying for City employees to retire at 50 and 55.
So I ask again. Why should we pay A NEW TAX that funds park expenses that should be part of your existing taxes already collected by the City? And then continue to fund a city retirement system that is totally flawed.
Lastly, my property tax bill currently has $818.52 of "voter approved taxes and special assessments". That is enough! Sure, measure X is only another $52 a year, but that is on top of an already whopping $818. Enough is enough.
The city needs to get its fiscal house in order, control and reduced their insane pension programs and pay for park costs our of the taxes we already pay.
I am sure I am not the only person in Petaluma that is voting NO ON MEASURE X.