Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Antioch Council approves $237.5 and $226.2 million budgets for next two fiscal years

Friday, June 16th, 2023
City of Antioch 2023-25 General Fund Expenditures by department. Source: City of Antioch

Includes projected deficits of $10.2 million in 2023-24 and $15.4 million in 2024-25; also approves $226.6 million 5-Year Capital Improvement Program budget

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, the Antioch City Council adopted a $237.5 million annual budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24 and $226.2 million budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25 with $10.2 and $15.4 million deficits, respectively. The council also unanimously approved the $226.6 million 5-Year Capital Improvement Program budget and spending up to $2.1 million for police dispatch and records management software upgrade over five years.

City of Antioch 2023-25 General Fund Tax Revenue by Source.

Approves Two-Year Budget

The council approved the two-year budget for Fiscal Years 2023-25 using less than $3 million from Budget Stabilization funds for the General Fund, according to Finance Director Dawn Merchant. The 2023-24 Fiscal Year Operating Budget projects a total $10.2 million deficit with $227,370,716 in revenue, including$91,854,602 to the General Fund and $237,524,285 in expenditures, including $92,698,366 from the General Fund. In Fiscal Year 2024-25 the deficit is projected to be $16 million with $210,736,707 in revenue, including$97,314,672 in the General Fund and total expenditures of $226,163,010, including $100,314,672 from the General Fund. (See below)

Over half of the General Fund pays for police, including $50,741,523 in FY 2023-24 and $54,670,183 in FY 2024-25.

Source: City of Antioch

Approves 5-Year Capital Improvement Program Budget

The council also unanimously approved the $226.6 million 5-Year Capital Improvement Program Budget with the largest amount of $69 million to be spent on the Brackish Water Desalination Plant. The budget also includes $55.4 million for Roadway Improvements, $47.1 million on the City’s water system, $21.6 million on Community Facilities, $16.4 million on Parks and Trails, $12 million on the Wastewater and Storm Drain System and $4.4 million on Traffic Signals.

Approve $2.1 million for Police Department Software Upgrade

The council approved a five-year contract not to exceed $2,123,744 to develop and maintain a Police Computer Aided Dispatch (“CAD”) and Records Management System (“RMS”) from June 1, 2023, to July 1, 2028, authorizing the Acting City Manager to execute a purchasing agreement with Sunridge Systems.

Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker was the only council member to speak on the item.

“Increased police response times is literally a matter of life and death in this community,” she said “Three minutes versus 10 minutes when you have a loved one bleeding out in the street… response times matter. Until we can create this other world, this utopia where we don’t need these systems, we need to make them work. Our police department is way behind 21st Century Policing. I definitely support this, and I can make the motion,” which she then did.

Seconded by District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica, the motion was adopted on a 5-0 vote.

BART Board president, GM say more state funds needed to avoid “severe cuts to service and staffing”

Friday, May 26th, 2023

From Board of Directors President Janice Li and General Manager Bob Powers:

BART is thankful for the recent action taken by the California State Legislature to restore $2 billion for the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. The program is vital in funding transformative capital improvements to modernize public transportation systems such as BART.

The fate of transit operating budgets, however, presents a do-or-die decision point.

Each day BART moves closer to plunging off the fiscal cliff if the State does not provide short-term financial aid to fund transit operations.

One-time federal funds are dwindling even with BART’s stringent cost controls and will be exhausted by early 2025. If transit operations funding is not included in this year’s State budget, BART must begin making severe cuts to service and staffing, as early as this year. The State has the opportunity – and the power – to sustain BART or let BART and the Bay Area economy fail.
Here’s how failure looks:

  • Trains only once an hour.
  • No trains on weekends.
  • No trains after 9 p.m. on weeknights.
  • Reduced service to San Francisco International and Oakland International airports.
  • Some stations closed.
  • Entire lines potentially shuttered

Those who will pay the biggest price for these severe cuts are those who can afford it the least. Sixty-seven percent of BART riders identify as non-white. Forty-four percent do not have a vehicle. Thirty-one percent have an income of $50,000 or lower. Seven percent are disabled. If the State fails to act, those who rely on BART as a lifeline will be stranded.

Everyone will pay the price if BART fails – even those who don’t use it. Traffic stands to drastically worsen across our already congested roadways and bridges, and regional greenhouse gas emissions will increase, further fueling climate change. Just one trip in a car emits the same amount of C02 as thirty trips taken on BART.

Businesses will struggle to move their goods with thousands more vehicles on already strained roads. BART service cuts to SFO and OAK will make tourism and convention travel unpalatable.

The Bay Area is an economic engine for the entire state, which represents the fourth largest economy in the world. But the regional economy isn’t ironclad. It needs effective public transit – BART, Muni, and other agencies – to thrive.

BART staff, labor partners and Board are focused on increasing ridership by improving the system.

Some highlights:

  • Adding eight to 18 additional police officers to patrol trains each shift in addition to BART’s unarmed safety staff of Ambassadors, Crisis Intervention Specialists and Fare Inspectors on trains.
  • A September schedule change means no rider will wait more than 20 minutes for a scheduled train, including nights and weekends. 
  • More than doubling the Clipper START discount for eligible low-income riders.
  • A project to install 700 new fare gates at all stations by 2026 to deter fare evasion and increase safety. 
  • Thorough cleaning of train car interiors twice as often.
  • Increasing the number of deep-clean teams by 66% to scrub heavily used stations.

These hard-earned gains for riders would be wiped out by severe service cuts. It’s a recipe for a death spiral.

If the State fails to act, not only will BART fail, but Bay Area public transit will fail. Ninety percent of all transfer trips in the Bay Area involve a connection to BART.

For BART and the Bay Area we know and love to survive, we need State help NOW.

Contra Costa Supervisors to discuss proposed $5.5 billion Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget Monday

Friday, April 21st, 2023
Source: Contra Costa County

A 5.38% increase over current year

By Allen D. Payton

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will discuss the $5.515 billion Fiscal Year 2023-2024 Recommended Budget at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 24.

New this year is an updated online version, which increases accessibility through easier navigation, interactive content, additional performance measures, and customizable PDF printing options. 

“This structurally balanced budget continues to reflect years of careful, comprehensive, and continuing review and refinement of our operations to cope with economic challenges.” said County Administrator Monica Nino. “At every opportunity, we continue to make changes to deliver services that residents need and expect from County government in ways that are more efficient and less costly.” 

According to Nino’s report to the Board, “It is anticipated this year will be one of status quo in the delivery of services besides those program enhancements that are in the startup phase from the benefit of the Board-allocated Measure X funds for specific purposes. The increase in salaries and benefits totals $126.3 million, largely due to the second year of a 5% cost of living increase for over 80% of the County workforce received as part of a four-year labor agreement.

The Recommended Budget includes funding for 11,127.6 full-time equivalent positions (FTE), of which 6,836.4 are in the General Fund. The recommendation includes 85.4 new (60.0 General Fund) positions to be added for the fiscal year 2023-2024 (FY23-24). To structurally balance the budget, a number of our General Fund departments continue to have vacancy factors built into their recommended budget allocations. A vacancy factor accounts for cost savings related to personnel vacancies occurring within departments during the fiscal year. During the development of the Recommended Budget, there were approximately 2,013 vacant FTE positions, totaling $305.0 million, of which 1,395 FTE totaling $204.9 million are General Fund supported. Due to difficulties in recruitments, retention, and normal turnover, the following nine departments are maintaining vacancy factors totaling $101.5 million: Health Services, Sheriff-Coroner, Employment and Human Services, District Attorney, County Clerk-Recorder, Probation, Public Defender, Animal Services, and Assessor. We have continued the process of eliminating vacant/unfunded positions with the goal of more easily identifying funded vacant positions requiring recruitment during the fiscal year.

Source: Contra Costa County

General Purpose Revenue for FY23-24 totals $725.1 million, an increase of 9.3% over the prior year budget of $663.6 million. Of the major revenue sources, property taxes are the largest category and total $496.9 million, based on an assumed 4% growth over current year projected collections. The next largest sources are Measure X sales tax at $118.2 million, interest income at $30 million, and sales and use taxes at $22.2 million. Interest income is projected to be received close to double in FY22-23 of what is budgeted for FY23-24; this is as a result of increases in interest rates. This economic benefit is projected not to last and actual interest earnings will be monitored during the new fiscal year in the event an adjustment is necessary.

The following items are potential pressures to the recommended spending plan.

  • Persistent high inflation and economic uncertainty;
  • Unanticipated impacts from the Governor’s May Revised Budget proposal and shortfalls in Federal allocations;
  • Decreasing County revenue growth;
  • Disallowed FEMA reimbursement related to COVID-19;
  • Labor contract negotiations for agreements expiring June 30, 2023; and
  • Limited qualified workforce to fill job vacancies

The majority of the budget ($2.876 billion) is funded from State and Federal revenues. This means that for the majority of the programs funded, a program cut would also result in a loss of the revenue associated with the program. Salary and Benefit costs are broken out to show the growth, which consumes 37% of the County budget.”

Among the recommended budget highlights provided by Supervisor Diane Burgis’ office are:

  • Adds 26 positions in the Employment and Human Services Department to improve children and family services; youth programming and workforce development; In-Home Supportive Services case management; senior nutrition programs; CalAIM implementation; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and associated programs. 
  • Adds three full-time Animal Services Officers to increase beat coverage and improve response times to dangerous animal cases and an additional two full-time positions focused on transfer partner and adoption programs and lost and found programs.
  • A $10 million allocation toward developing a new Bay Point Library branch. The branch is a new 10,000-20,000 square-foot space constructed in partnership with an affordable housing project. 
  • $10 million in capital funding to provide a local match for grants that would allow the County to leverage state and federal funds for large infrastructure projects, such as roads and bridges, as part of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The Board discussion is tentatively scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 25, if additional time is needed. The Board is scheduled to adopt the final budget on Tuesday, May 23.

Antioch Council told City facing $6 million deficit, moves forward on directly hiring police chief

Tuesday, April 11th, 2023

City has 83 vacancies; will restructure Police Crime Prevention Commission; Thorpe claims Barbanica, Ogorchock, others are siding with racism for opposing direct hire of police chief

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday night, April 11, 2023, the Antioch City Council discussed the budget for Fiscal Years 2023-25 and the majority of members agreed to pursue a new ordinance for directly hiring the police chief. The council also decided to “reframe” the Police Crime Prevention Commission rather than disbanding it.

Budget Workshop

During the Budget Workshop before the regular meeting, Acting City Manager Forrest Ebbs reminded the council “the City is facing a $6 million deficit in the coming fiscal year.”

Finance Director Dawn Merchant said that there were “83 vacancies citywide” in staff, providing savings for the budget.

The council directed staff to return with three options for using Budget Stabilization Funds of zero, $3 million and $4 million to balance the budget.

Police Crime Prevention Commission to Be Reframed

Rather than disband it the council decided to “reframe” the Police Crime Prevention Commission. Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker volunteered to help lead the discussion. The matter will be brought back to the council for future decision.

Moves Forward With Directly Hiring Police Chief

During public comments on the matter of the council directly hiring the police chief, one resident spoke in favor, another, Melissa Case, said she was torn since the mayor has “a tendency to micromanage”.

Sandy Hartrick said she was concerned about the “checks and balances” if the council hires the police chief. “With that, no one group has all the power. If you take over the hiring and management of the police department you will have all the power.” She also shared concern that the council is moving away toward a Charter City form of government.

“Chief Ford is doing a great job. He’s working hard to change the culture,” Hartrick continued.

Another resident, Ron Mohammed said, “I’m not quite clear…in terms of the authority and how that would look. Communication between the council and the chief would be great. But I think it’s wrong Chief Ford has to fall on the sword for all the things that happened before. The micromanaging is not said when they talk about…the city manager.”

Resident Ralph Hernandez spoke next saying, “definitely, no. I do not agree with the change that is proposed. Unfortunately, tonight, you have a lot of people that have a misunderstanding of law enforcement. In fact, the council majority are too busy in their lives…they voted to take on secretaries. Now, they want to take on hiring the chief. You need to be very specific with the city manager when hiring the police chief comes up, and what you’re looking for.”

“Taking it away from the city manager. What’s next, taking away the Public Works Director, the Recreation manager?” he asked.

“I’m here to celebrate democracy. We the people elected you,” Patricia Granados said. “I would feel confident and trusting in our city council making decisions like this. Maybe even some federal oversight to put in their two cents in what is the reasoning for getting hired and getting fired.”

“I do want to clarify…in 2020, we agreed to changing the hiring process for the chief of police,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “I was a huge advocate that the contract was ratified by the city council. The City Attorney said we can’t do that. It’s either one or the other.”

“Every decision made in this room is made by three. Quit believing what the blogs are telling you. It’s trash,” Thorpe said, while raising his voice. “This is not about Chief Ford, it’s about a process that started back in 2020. So, stop personalizing it.”

“OK. Bring it down a notch,” Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker said with a laugh. 

“I do remember discussing this in detail,” she said. “It’s just been my experience working in public policy for the past 14 years, city managers are not the check and balance…which is their job. The chief of police runs a department that is to be managed and sometime micromanaged by the city manager. And when the city manager fails for over a decade…is what got us here. It is within the authority of this body to make this change. We won’t be running the police department because we hire the police chief. We will be managing directly the individual who is supposed to be running the police department for transparency and accountability sake which has not happened for over a decade.”

“When we hired Cornelius Johnson, I didn’t want to give him the authority to hire and fire. But we have to give each person a chance. We gave Chief Ford a chance,” Torres-Walker said. “This isn’t the only move in light of transparency we need to make. I hope that Chief Steven Ford agrees to stay because this is necessary.”

“I think this is a mistake…because the police department is not an extension of a political arm,” said District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica. “The city manager needs to be a buffer between politicians and enforcing law. This won’t be just this council it will set policy for years and years to come. It’s not about Chief Ford it’s about the office of the Chief of Police. I think this is a mistake and I do not support it.”

“Yeah, and it’s that buffer that got us to where we are, today,” District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson shot back to applause from the audience. “A couple weeks ago I was on the fence about this. But in light of events over weeks…and today with the texts, it’s obvious there needs to be that line with the Chief of Police. Because that buffer didn’t work.”

“I’ve been through five city managers and the buffer is not working,” she added.

“If this is the will of the council majority how will this affect Chief Ford,” District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock asked City Attorney Thomas L. Smith.

“If you want to give direction to change the structure, we would come back with an ordinance,” Smith responded. “Once the ordinance is passed…the impact it has on an individual police chief…if there is a contract in place, we would have to look at how that would interact with the ordinance.”

“I am not for this,” Ogorchock said. “We’ve never had the accountability with the police chief, before. I’m for that type of vision before anything else.”

“Even if you got a report every six months you wouldn’t have any authority,” Torres-Walker responded.

Thorpe spoke last saying, “I’m for this. I’ve always been for this. The choice is really simple. Either we do this or stay on the side of racism. Come back with an ordinance please.”

Antioch Council approves $326K for outside law firms, personnel investigation since Dec. 1

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

Largest amount spent to defend city against lawsuit by natural gas pipeline companies

By Allen D. Payton

In an attempt to determine the reason the Antioch City Council voted to place City Manager Con Johnson on paid administrative leave during their meeting Tuesday night, March 14, 2023, which was finalized in a revote on March 17, a review of the past three months of Council Warrants, which are the City’s expenses per department the council votes on was conducted. Between Dec. 1, 2022 and March 2, 2023, almost $321,000 was spent on outside legal counsel and over $5,000 on a personnel investigation. Antioch City Attorney Warrants 12-01 thru 12-29-22     Antioch City Attorney Warrants 12-30 thru 01-12-23    Antioch City Attorney Warrants 1-13 thru 2-2-23    Antioch City Attorney & Human Resources Warrants 2-2 thru 3-2-23

Antioch City Attorney & Human Resources Warrants 02-02 thru 03-02-23. Source: City of Antioch

On Tuesday’s meeting agenda it shows in the Council Warrants report Feb. 2-March 2, 2023 under the City Attorney category, $96,252.37 was paid for Legal Services Rendered to 11 law firms, and under the Human Resources category $5,166.25 for Investigative Fees paid to Barry Aninag Investigations. Mr. Aninag’s LinkedIn profile shows his company “offers independent, impartial, and thorough investigations into allegations of employee misconduct, harassment, and hostile work environments.”

Antioch City Attorney Warrants 01-13 thru 02-02-23

The Council Warrants on the Feb. 14, 2023 agenda for Jan. 13-Feb. 2, 2023 show $41,118.43 for legal services; the Jan. 24th council meeting agenda shows $41,930.76 in legal services for Dec. 30, 2022-Jan. 12, 2023 and the Jan. 10th council meeting agenda shows $141,472.97 paid for legal services incurred Dec. 1-29, 2022.

That’s a total of $320,774.53 in legal services plus the cost of the personnel investigation in the past three months for a grand total of $325,940.78.

Antioch City Attorney Warrants 12-30 thru 01-12-23

Questions for City Attorney, Acting City Manager

That information and questions were sent Wednesday to City Attorney Smith and Acting City Manager Cortez, and copied to the council members, City Finance Director Dawn Merchant and City Treasurer Lauren Posada asking for what cases are the expenses and if any of them or the investigation is related to Johnson. Smith and Cortez were also asked if it is normal for the City to spend over $100,000 per month on average for outside legal counsel.

Councilman Barbanica, who said he spoke with City Attorney Smith who said, “the bulk of this ($108,248.82) is to Meyers Nave to defend the City against the litigation on the CRC natural gas pipeline from the 3-2 council vote to deny the renewal of the franchise agreement.”

“Which I voted against, by the way,” the councilman added.

Antioch City Attorney Warrants 12-01 thru 12-29-22

“The payments to Hanson Bridgett are for ongoing labor and employment investigations and the Telecom Law Firm is for dealing with leases related to cell towers and other telecommunications in the city,” Barbanica continued.

The total over the past three months paid to Hanson Bridgett LLP was $74,132.59 and $9,101.50 to Telecom Law Firm PC. In addition, $64,362.70 was paid to Liebert Cassidy Whitmore. According to their website the firm “provides unparalleled education, training, litigation and advisory services to California’s public agencies, educational institutions and nonprofits.”

Smith was asked which of those services they are providing to the City of Antioch.

“A city our size has an understaffed attorney’s office with two attorneys and one assistant. So, a lot of this has to be farmed out because of that. If you look at Vallejo and Richmond, they have more than double the number of attorneys and assistants than we do,” he added. “It’s a lot of money.”

Smith did not respond by publication time. Please check back for any updates to this report.

Senator Glazer resigns from Bay Area Transit panel

Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

State Senator Steve Glazer wants greater fiscal oversight of BART.

Says “Bay Area leaders have not stepped up to fix the fiscal oversight problems with BART…”

Only BART Board Director Allen responds applauding Glazer

By Allen D. Payton

Senator Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa, announced that he resigned today, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023 from his position as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Bay Area Public Transit, saying Bay Area leaders have failed to support fiscal oversight of BART.

Senator Glazer is a longtime supporter of public transit and is concerned about the financial problems facing Bay Area transit systems, which are essential to the health of the regional economy. But, he said, the status quo is unacceptable.

“Bay Area leaders have not stepped up to fix the fiscal oversight problems with BART, as well as the underfunding of the Inspector General’s office,” Glazer said. “When these problems are addressed, I will join with my colleagues and support greater transit funding.”

In June 2022, an Alameda County Grand Jury found that BART’s leadership has repeatedly blocked the Inspector General’s authority and autonomy.

Just two months later, former State Auditor Elaine Howle found that the BART office “lacked the authority and independence necessary to do its job…”

The BART inspector general was created by Senator Glazer as part of a transportation bill in 2017. Senator Glazer advanced legislation (SB 827) to the governor’s desk last year that enhanced independence for the IG, conforming its auditing standards and investigations with other transportation IGs. At the request of the BART Board, Governor Newsom vetoed the bill.

Senator Glazer’s letter reads as follows:

Dear Senator Wiener,

I hereby resign from the Senate Select Committee on Bay Area Public Transit, effective immediately. The failure of Bay Area leaders to hold BART financially accountable makes my participation in this transit support committee incompatible.

I recognize and support the pressing need for the state to invest in public transit agencies throughout the Bay Area given the financial uncertainty that looms over these systems. However, there is no guarantee that these agencies will spend taxpayer dollars sensibly without adequate oversight of their expenditures. I point to the recent alarming reports from BART’s Inspector General regarding BART’s financial mismanagement and brazen defiance of voter-mandated oversight.

In June 2022, an Alameda County Grand Jury found that BART’s leadership has repeatedly blocked the Inspector General’s authority and autonomy. Specifically, the Grand Jury found that BART’s board of directors and management engaged in a “pattern of obstruction” that has impeded the Inspector General’s ability to conduct independent oversight and “stymied OIG independence and the confidentiality of investigations.”

Just two months later, former State Auditor Elaine Howle, comparing the powers and responsibilities of the BART IG to other, similar offices, found that the BART office “lacked the authority and independence necessary to do its job according to the best practices recommended by national professional organizations that set standards in the accountability field.’ She also asserted in a letter to Governor Newsom that ‘(e)nsuring the independence of the BART Inspector General is critical to the credibility and effectiveness of the office.”

As BART and other regional transit systems seek additional state funding to stave off upcoming fiscal problems, the Legislature must ensure that the same systems spend public resources responsibly.

I wish you well with your important work.


BART Director Responds

When reached for comment about Glazer’s resignation from the committee and reason for it the four BART Board directors who represent Contra Costa County, including Vice Chair and District 3 Director Mark Foley, District 1 Director Deb Allen, District 3 Director Rebecca Stutzman and District 7 Director Lateefah Simon. Only Allen responded writing, “I applauded CA Senator Glazer for standing up to Bay Area elected leaders to insist on accountability to transit riders and taxpayers. They deserve answers about how BART spends $2.5B plus annually and those answers aren’t easy to come by.

Senator Glazer and I have worked for over six years together to get answers and still continue to meet resistance in making meaningful independent oversight a permanent part of the BART culture. We have worked tirelessly over last 4 years on strengthening the role of the Office of Inspector General we created and built, while the majority of BART board directors, unions and executive staff continue to focus on the ‘more money please!’ approach. We saw it last week in BART’s annual Board Workshop and it seems Senator Glazer is seeing the same approach evolving from the Senate select Committee on Bay Area Public Transit. That will only produce more of the same failed policies we see now for BART.

I believe BART executive management and a majority of directors will continue to fight proper oversight. Unless our state leaders like Senator Glazer attach oversight strings to new funding at the state level to keep transit agencies accountable to the people who are paying for it, transit will continue to fail the riders, workers and the Bay Area.”

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Contra Costa County provides payment details for out-of-court settlement in Thorpe sexual harassment case

Monday, September 19th, 2022

By Susan Shiu, PIO, Contra Costa County Office of Communications & Media

Former LMCHD executive director and Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe.

(Martinez, CA) – Sept. 19, 2022 – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, in its capacity as successor agency to the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (“District”), has approved an out-of-court settlement relating to claims submitted by Jasmine Cisneros and Jocelyn Munoz against the District and its former executive director, Lamar Thorpe. (See related article)

The liability insurance carrier for the former District, RSUI Group Inc, handled this matter and provided counsel to defend the claims.  Following a mediation session among the parties, a settlement was reached.  The settlement was fully executed on August 23, 2022.

The total amount of the settlement of both claims was $350,000, inclusive of attorneys’ fees and costs. Of the settlement amount, $321,000 was paid by the former District’s liability insurance carrier. The remaining settlement amount of $29,000 was paid from the Los Medanos Community Healthcare fund, as an insurance deductible payment.

The Board of Supervisors approved the settlement solely in its capacity as the successor agency to the District. As the successor agency, the County was required to assume all liabilities of the District, including any claims filed against it. The settlement includes a release and waiver of all claims by Cisneros and Munoz against the District, the former executive director, and the County.  The settlement also avoids potentially expensive federal court litigation relating to the claims.

Antioch City Treasurer takes council to task on spending including $12.3 million on homeless motel program

Sunday, May 8th, 2022

Antioch City Treasurer Lauren Posada speaks to the city council during public comments at the end of their meeting on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. Video screenshot.

“the City cannot continue to support each department to meet the demands while continuing to add expenses that depletes revenues” – Lauren Posada

By Allen D. Payton

During public comments at the end of the Antioch City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 26, City Treasurer Lauren Posada spoke out against the council’s spending.

Earlier in the meeting the council discussed spending $12.3 million over five years for the motel on East 18th Street to serve as transitional housing for the homeless, and the associated “wrap-around” support services.

During council discussion on the item District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said, “I heard from Focus Strategies $12.3 million is conservative. When you look at the budget and transferring in from the state budget stabilization, 2025-26 there is no more money in the budget stabilization fund. So, our reserves will be depleted.”

Mayor Lamar Thorpe responded, “every budget assumption we get puts us in the red. We’ve been going bankrupt since the day we got here and 10 years later, we’re not bankrupt. Because these numbers don’t make all the assumptions that, as an example, generally our sales tax does better than we anticipate, so we get more money.”

“We don’t always factor in cannabis because we’re constantly getting new applications and we’re approving them, so that doesn’t take certain things into account,” he continued. “So, to look at this number as a fixed number is inaccurate. Because we never look at numbers like that because they’re assumptions, they’re not reality. They’re just assumptions so that we can plan for the future.”

A majority of council members supported the project, including Thorpe, and Councilwomen Tamisha Torres-Walker (District 1) and Monica Wilson (District 4). But Torres-Walker was not ready to move forward that night as she wanted additional information from staff and to consider other, additional locations in the city. So, combined with the opposition from Ogorchock and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica, a decision on spending $12.3 million on the motel program was postponed. (See related article) (The item is on the agenda for the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, May 10.)

Posada’s Comments (See video at 4:09:51 mark)

Asked if she had planned to share her thoughts before Thorpe made his comments that evening Posada said, “I did have a draft ready. But as the meeting went on, I did edit it. I was listening and I’m glad I waited.”

Reading from prepared remarks, Posada said, “Currently, at the City of Antioch we have under our umbrella – Administration offices, Animal Services, Community Development, Economic Development, Finance, Information Systems, Police, Public Works, and Recreation with various departments underneath. I would like to point out that Animal Services, Water Park, Youth Services, Unhoused Services and the Marina are unique entities to us as a city that we operate. All these departments require resources in order to operate effectively. We have one budget that is adopted bi-annually that we should utilize as a guideline to determine our scope or work.

I understand that year after year since 2012 has been an improvement coming off the previous housing crisis, but it would be a disservice if we continued to go off the notion that our revenues will always exceed our expenditures. There are many factors that are contributed to the budget and closing out each fiscal year – as examples we are taking into consideration the salary savings from our police department this year and the housing market continues to rise that will contribute to our projected revenues for this fiscal year. Each year is unique, but I am asking Council to be mindful of the times that we are in and listen to the warnings when they come.

Throughout this agenda packet there are comments made that I would like to bring up that concerned me regarding the fiscal impact with new budget expenditures:

‘…ongoing operations for the remainder of the regulatory period will need to be identified.’

‘This expenditure is currently unbudgeted and is proposed to be funded through the General Fund.’

‘…the need for a budget amendment would be evaluated in conjunction with the budget process and subject to City Council’s direction to staff.’

‘…budget for the Public Safety and Community Resources Department is not under consideration at this meeting. The City Council will have the opportunity to consider the budget for new positions, office space, supplies, and equipment in its upcoming consideration of the fiscal year budget.’

I am not taking the stance that I am for or against any item, but my ask is this: If we are going to pivot what we have underneath our umbrella as a City then I request that we are willing to have the difficult conversations that may come as a result of that pivot and determine funding sources upfront — the City cannot continue to support each department to meet the demands while continuing to add expenses that depletes revenues — I understand budget will be coming up midyear but it is so important to determine what is our priority and clearly outline that to our residents throughout upcoming agenda packets to alleviate frustration or misinformation if possible and most importantly for residents to be confident in decisions being made that will ultimately impact the future wellbeing of our City.

Thank you.”


Asked later about her comments Posada said, “I was trying to bring understanding in a professional way. When you look at the agenda packets there should always be a clear funding source.”

“How can we have these conversations so that they can make an educated decision?” she asked. “How does this $12.3 million affect us over the years? But that’s just one decision. We have to look at the big picture.”

“I’m striving to keep fiscal responsibility at the forefront of Council – big decisions are being made that will impact our city,” Posada added.

Posada was elected city treasurer in 2020 for a four-year term. To see the City’s financial reports, visit and to contact the city treasurer call (925) 779-7005 or email her at