Hercules Could Declare Fiscal Emergency Again Tuesday

The city council will consider another declaration of a state of fiscal emergency this week.

Hercules isn't out of the woods yet.

Facing a budget deficit of more than $1 million for the second year in a row, the Hercules City Council may declare a state of fiscal emergency this week–for the second year in a row.

A unanimous vote for a state of fiscal emergency would make it easier for tax increases to pass at the ballot–tax hikes could be passed with a 50-percent-plus-one-vote margin instead of the usual two-thirds margin.

Council members said late last month they would discuss putting before voters an increase in the city's utility users tax.

"This time last year, the discussion was that we knew we wouldn't get it all in one bite," City Manager Steve Duran said of the city's deficit at a council meeting last month. "Even with a 1 percent sales tax [increase] we wouldn't have gotten all of it, and we went with a half-percent sales tax. We didn't eliminate a structural deficit last year."


Hercules City Council meeting
7 p.m. Tuesday
City Council Chambers, 111 Civic Dr. 


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Phil Simmons February 12, 2013 at 03:05 AM
The promise made last June had something to do with hiring police. A year later, increased tax, no more police. The fiscal emergency does not allow for earmarking the revenue in the tax measure. That old famous W Bush comment or was in Gomer Pyle or maybe "The Who"? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, uhhh........... we want get fooled again !
Susan D.Keeffe February 12, 2013 at 04:28 AM
The quoted rhetoric is not how I remember it. I agree with Phil, "fool me once..."...
Toni Leance February 12, 2013 at 02:07 PM
The ONLY reason to declare a fiscal emergency is to "game the system" and only have to get a simple majority instead of the 2/3 vote that is the bar to raise taxes. The council is also at this meeting voting $60k for new police cars and $62k for a consultant that they ignored last time that is over $120k we could have another cop for that money.this council wants it both ways declare a fiscal emergency to get more taxes and continue frivolous spending. It is tragic. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Phil Simmons February 12, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Susan, Your correct. My quote was a bit off. It was, and I quote "and I get on my knees and pray...we don't get fooled again, no, no" and after a refrain it ends with "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" Here it is: http://youtu.be/SHhrZgojY1Q
Susan D.Keeffe February 12, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Phil, I was referring to the rhetoric by the City we heard a year ago, not to the ages old quote " fool me once shame in me, fool me twice shame on you" . The Council just had a session in which it was revealed there are alternatives to just taxing us more. But this is the easy way out. And if they don't get the 50%+1 vote to increase our taxes ( which is no longer a deduction if you itemize), they will have wasted $65,000 that they cannot afford to lose.
Glenn Abraham February 12, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Hi, Phil. I think that the original was an ancient Chinese proverb, which got picked up by Abraham Lincoln. Bush, of course, improved on the Lincoln version. And, yes, W. Bush and Gomer Pyle DO belong in the same sentence...though Gomer made fewer mistakes.
Dale Wyckoff February 12, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Too bad there isn't a way to tax the people who opposed Wal-Mart. According to Wikinvest, the average retail sales per square foot for a Wal-Mart store was $680.88 in 2009. Assuming only 90% of those sales are taxable, and since the city gets 1% of the sales value from state taxes, Wal-Mart could be generating $606,664 per year in tax revenue for the city. Add to that the special tax the voters approved.
Toni Leance February 12, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Dale if the city would have put their effort into supporting and building the waterfront the discussion would be moot. The future of hercules does not lie in sycamore crossing, market hall or Victoria cresent it lies in the waterfront. Without a viable and diverse mix of uses hercules will forever be just another city along San Pablo boulevard nothing unique or worth stoping at. Much wasted time on projects that will not bring financial security to this town. The entire city realized this at one time but those people are either gone or gave up. All efforts need to go to building our waterfront and making sure we don't screw up the areas adjacent to it.
Selina Williams February 12, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Hercules needs a permanent solution, a growth based solution. We need a fair property tax increment allocation from the county. Formerly the narrative was that the sales tax would fill the budget hole and fire sales of all our lands would keep us from bankruptcy. None of that is true. We can-not plug our budget holes and pay other imminent debts with fire sales of land that do not even belong to the city, and 5 years of sales tax increase. We cannot secure the future of Hercules, or avert bankruptcy with these half measures. The citizens participated in this foolery without a full and deep financial analysis or a true strategy for solvency. This was only a temporary illusion, a fog that was bound to be lifted at the first hint of sunshine. We are in crisis. We need a comprehensive multiyear budget/analysis of our economic condition that includes all revenue streams, costs of city services associated with proposed developments, existing costs and contingencies, including rebuilding healthy operating reserves which we have spent to the bottom. So far, we have built nothing, we have grown nothing, we have developed nothing. We do not have a strategy. We have a lousy, incomplete budget. We have is a continuing passivity of Hercules residents, not participating in their city government. Not encouraged to participate. Now the cliff looms large and waves are crashing and there is no easy way.
Louise B. February 12, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Well, I hate to say "I told you so" (not really), but I told you so. With polilticians on the city, state or Federal level, there is NEVER enough money. Remember the "temporary" tax that our state imposed a few years ago? When it expired, the state came back in the form of Jerry Brown and a proposition to raise sales taxes and taxes on the "rich." Wake up! It is not only the "rich" who are paying trhow the nose, it's everyone.
Patty O'Day February 12, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I received a notice from Hercules Patch that my comment about Biden was pulled. I would like an explanation why Glen and Phil can trash President George W. Bush and when I commented that "of course, your boy, Biden never makes any mistakes", my message got pulled.
Cody Kitaura (Editor) February 12, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Patty, I didn't want this thread to veer too far off topic and into a back-and-forth of personal attacks. I apologize for not giving you an explanation when the comment was removed, and if you'd like to discuss it further you can reach me at cody.kitaura@patch.com or 916-200-6496. I'd like to remind everyone to be respectful. Thanks.
Patty O'Day February 12, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Ok, but it seems unfair to allow the other comments and not mine. I agree we should stay on topic. Please remind the others that their snide comments were not necessary.
Dale Wyckoff February 13, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Toni, I'd be interested in seeing actual numbers. The problem we're in in Hercules arises from the rather foolish notion that the government is wise. Wal-Mart understands how to generate sales. As is evident by The White-Elephant-By-The-Bay, the city isn't that clever. Also, with respect to the Waterfront, I was part of the committee in 1992 when the property owner's rep brought it up. 20 years later... It isn't surprising. The Market Hall (another example of foolishness) site was going to be our BART station. Designated so in the 1970s I believe. Government processes are slow. That's just the way it is. If you start when BART designated that site and run to today, a Wal-Mart would been an old building and probably would have been retrofit a couple of times. All the while throwing off income to the city.
Dale Wyckoff February 13, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Patty, you are absolutely correct. That's the nature of the Bay Area that any voice that doesn't lean leftward gets the shaft. And Cody, Phil & Glen's cheap shots are still there.
Glenn Abraham February 13, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Can't ANYbody spell my name correctly?
Tim Craig February 13, 2013 at 03:59 AM
I can, Glenn, glad to see you back on the Patch!
Phil Simmons February 13, 2013 at 06:40 AM
The $65,000 is wasted either way.
Phil Simmons February 13, 2013 at 06:44 AM
Dale, My comment was about "The Who" too, not just "W". All the Bush fans seems to take great offense when his verbal conflagrations are exposed. I don't know why. It found those things to be one of his most redeeming values, and I'm not so sure he didn't do them on purpose.
David F February 13, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Dale, Walmart would not have made it here. The traffic and parking problems would have made the average person go to Hilltop or Martinez. Then, they likely would have made it a warehouse with no sales tax. Also, Walmart could have built a store that fit the general plan. In no way, would they have helped the city; only the Waltons.
Glenn Abraham February 13, 2013 at 07:40 AM
Yay, Tim! I'm not really back on the Patch. Caught up in my HOA. I just got the board recalled, now I've got to serve on the new board for a coupla years. We never got around to getting together. Email me, k? glennabraham@hotmail.com. cya.
Susan D.Keeffe February 13, 2013 at 08:02 AM
Dale, Walmart has a viable store at Hilltop and the folks who enjoy shopping there, go there. I agree with David, it would never have worked here. They wanted a store several times larger than what the site is zoned for and nobody in the City, other than the council members who enjoyed being wined and dined by WalMart execs, wanted it. Its a dead issue. As you noted, Hercules has a long history of stupid decisions. I'm reminded of that each time I drive by our "white elephant". But we do need revenues and so far the only way our CM and Council can come up with anything is to tax us.
Susan D.Keeffe February 13, 2013 at 08:09 AM
Phil, I really miss the Bushisms calendars. They really brightened my days.


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