Marathon meeting nets 100-plus ideas

Fiscal sustainability committee to deliver report today
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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It took a total of 17 hours last Thursday and Friday for the fiscal sustainability committee to approve more than 100 recommendations. The committee’s recommendations are scheduled to be given to the City Council in a full report today, according to committee chairman Richard Pearl. See page A6 for that list of recommendation. The committee met from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. last Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 10:50 p.m. last Friday During those meetings, the committee voted on 144 individual recommendations and 116 of those were approved, according to the final list of recommendations provided Tuesday by committee member Larry Whitaker. The report was originally scheduled to be released this Tuesday but Pearl asked during Friday’s meeting to postpone the release until today. The report will be available on the committee’s website, which is “Given the magnitude of the report and how far-ranging, the original intent was to complete the work today, work through the weekend and Monday, and physically deliver the report to the city on Tuesday. It’s my feeling this might place an undue burden on us,” Pearl said Friday. “I’m concerned with the physical ability to get it done. I would think Thursday is a much better timeline.” The resident-comprised committee was formed last April at the request of City Councilman Stan Nader, according to previous News Messenger reports. The fiscal sustainability committee’s primary mission has been “to review and analyze the current financial situation and determine that both the near-term and long-term fiscal implications of all city funds and to make recommendations leading to long-term fiscal sustainability,” according to previous News Messenger reports. Seven study groups make up the committee and each submitted their own report and recommendations. The seven study groups are communications, internal services, core principles, special funds/redevelopment agency/public facilities element, compensation, General Fund and enterprise fund. The committee voted to put each recommendation in one of four categories, which were as follows: mission critical for fiscal sustainability; enhanced fiscal stability; improves operations; and important comment/important principle. The categories originally also had numeric ratings, until paid committee consultant Tom Sinclair suggested the committee use initials for the categories instead of numbers. “Instead of 1,2,3,4, which does give the importance of rating, just give initials, rather than having (the numbers) which does give the impression of importance,” Sinclair said.