Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fiscal Surplus means MORE PARKING!

In the latest edition of the City's official newsletter, the Riverside Outlook (which yes, I read every time it appears in my mailbox), we heard the great news that the City is looking at a substantial fiscal surplus this year. City revenues outpaced expenses by $3.5m in FY 2009-2010, which, according to the newsletter, went into "enhancing city services."

And, of course, "city services" means "free parking and roads". Of the $3.5m in surplus cash, City leaders spent $900,000 on the Public Works budget, which went into road maintenance and parking at the Orange Terrace Community Centre; and $600,000 on parks, which went into parking at Andulka Park (my local park, served by routes 22, 51 and 53). That's $1.5m, or 42% of the fiscal surplus, that went into car-related spending. This doesn't count the $1m that went in to the police department budget, and a goodly share of police resources in North America are spent either on traffic enforcement or collision cleanup and investigation.

As always, I see City leaders who seem to get it... and then do something spectacularly wrong.


  1. My condolences. How the hell does Riverside have a budget surplus by the way? Did they just do a big round of cuts?

  2. Oh, never mind, I saw it in the newsletter. Unexpected revenue and "prudent spending" eh?

  3. Yeah, heaven forbid Chewie...

  4. Riverside is better off mostly because of Riverside Renaissance, a bond-financed infrastructure bonanza that we've been working on for several years. It's kept the construction industry busier here than in other places, keeping people employed and tax revenues flowing. We've also seen a lot of the hiring freezes and shortened hours that the rest of the state has seen, but in reality it hasn't been too bad out here, at least in terms of City services. County, state, and school district stuff has been another matter.

    Of course, having had strong infrastructure spending in the past by foresighted City leaders (such as our own public utility, and buying up a lot of water rights in the SB mountains, and the Gage Canal) doesn't hurt. Factoid- Riverside is one of a handful of cities that isn't facing a water shortage either.

  5. Is Riverside in a different watershed than Los Angeles?

  6. @Helen-

    We aren't, but our public utility owns more of that watershed per capita than, say, MWD. It's kind of like a small-scale version of NYC, who owns thousands of acres in the Catskills specifically for the water rights. Ecologically, we're still in a parched desert, but politically we're still allowed to water our lawns.

    (Don't blame me for lawn-watering, I live in an apartment quite happily.)