LOCO OPO 1.4 Mil Blunder
The City of Eureka was shocked to find out that the Lost Coast Outpost had overcalculated their budget by 1.4 million dollars. This mistake has raised questions about the accuracy of Common Core math and the potential for test anxiety or wishful thinking leading to miscalculations.
Lost Coast Outpost’s Retraction Notice
“[CORRECTION: Oops! We misinterpreted some information in the city’s budget. The City of Eureka’s general fund will not have a $1.4 million surplus in the upcoming fiscal year as originally stated. Essentially, the budget will be balanced, according to staff. The Outpost deeply regrets this error.]“
In recent years, California has faced budgeting issues due to the mismanagement of funds by Governor Gavin Newsom. This has caused a lot of confusion and frustration among the state’s citizens. To make matters worse, alternate realities are being created to misrepresent the budgeting process and obscure how much money is actually being spent. Common core economics is often used to calculate budgets in a way that does not accurately reflect reality. It is understandable why citizens are concerned about this practice, as it can lead to further financial instability if left unchecked.
Eureka ‘s 6.4 Mil ARPA Nest Egg
Reviewing the recent council meeting, I noticed a lack of discussion about a potential surplus. At the end of the meeting, Lane, the head of finance, mentioned that there could be trouble on the horizon with CalPERS, but also stated that it was going to be okay. Some good news was mentioned involving the city funds received from the American Rescue Plan (resulting from the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package that was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021).
While the plan has been widely praised for its efforts to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Eureka revealed during this financial meeting that they had squirreled most of the funding away, with the proposed use of the funds listed in the image below.
An amount somewhere over 6 million dollars, with only 230k or so spent thusfar, leaving many to wonder why such a large sum of money has gone largely unused and what can be done to ensure that it is put to good use. Perhaps some additional portion from the 6 million dollars in ARPA funding can be put to use in facilitating housing for the growing homeless population in Eureka, beyond the 500k housing trust fund. This would be a good fit for use of the funding, given that the restrictive covid policies forced many businesses to close their doors costing countless jobs of local citizens leading to homelessness.
Eureka Community Impact
An early look at this impact can be seen in details from a Times-Standard article – mind you, the article is from 2020, so the true impact is surely far worse.
“Humboldt County businesses to lose $2,725,796 in revenue, led to the loss of 704 jobs and has forced eight businesses to close,” according to an economic damage assessment conducted by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services.
Based on 335 total responses, nine businesses have had to permanently close, and the most impacted businesses were entertainment, tattoo shops, child care and personal care, such as massage and beauty businesses.
“Most of the business that permanently closed were from Arcata, Eureka, Fortuna and Ferndale,” Owings wrote. “One business was reported closed from Willow Creek.”
Of those 335 businesses, 3.75% reported permanent closures, 73% reported temporary closures and 50% reported layoffs,” Owings wrote.
Imagine what the numbers look like after two years of ridiculous mandates. Remember when restaurants were forced to serve people outside in the winter over public health concerns? In December of 2020, the The City of Eureka fined Applebee’s $1500 for serving customers indoors in the dead of winter.
In the citation addressed to J&A Food Service, a Redding company which operates the local Applebee’s, the City of Eureka’s code enforcement unit says that it warned the restaurant a few times a week before taking the action.
“On multiple occasions including 12/15/20 and 12/16/20, you were contacted and advised that if action was not taken to correct the code violations at the above referenced address immediately, additional enforcement action would be taken,” writes city Code Enforcement Manager Matthew Morgan in the citation. “Despite these conversations with you and your local manager, you continue to operate your establishment in direct violation of the orders of public health officials and City of Eureka Ordinance No. 897-C.S. requiring all persons within the city of Eureka to adhere to those orders.”
Would It would make sense to help businesses that were impacted with these totalitarian mandates, or at least to people who lost there jobs and subsequently their housing as a result? Hopefully the community can get through to the council and mayor about the allocation of these ARPA covid funds, next winter will be on us sooner than most can prepare for and I bet the next homeless person dying on a public transit bench won’t be worried about how much funding local broadband infrastructure received.