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Let’s Create a City of Alameda Rainy-Day Fund

The legislative analyst’s report on the Governor’s proposal to issue bonds backed by future California state lottery funds illustrates the need for us locally in Alameda to set up our own “rainy day” fund for our schools. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Legislative analyst Elizabeth Hill suggested that the Governor’s scheme might actually take lottery money away from schools in the future, should lottery revenues not grow enough to pay back the bonds.

This just illustrate’s why Alameda City Council needs to get off their duff and set up a local rainy-day fund to support Alameda Unified School District in future years. There is money that could be used to create such a fund – but it’s being used for the wrong purpose.  See the chart below from the City of Alameda’s annual comprehensive financial review for 2007, available on the City’s website.

 

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The chart shows the rapidly growing property tax increment revenue (the red bar) that is diverted from the general fund and into the City’s redevelopment agency (the Community Improvement Commission) to pay back debt (the blue bar) issued to build things like the Civic Center Parking Garage and the megaplex. Do we want our property taxes funding boondoggles like the megaplex? Or our schools?

We can ask Alameda City Council to stop this right now – terminate the Alameda Point Improvement Project before it starts accumulating debt, and use the future property tax increments from the redevelopment of Alameda Point to fund a rainy-day fund for Alameda schools.

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