Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 9, 2011

Passing the baton

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting marked the last night that Acting City Manager, Lisa Goldman, would be sitting in the City Manager’s seat, making way for incoming City Manager, John Russo. I’m going to take this opportunity to say that Lisa Goldman has done an amazing job in the interim of taking care of the City given the challenges it is currently facing (and will continue to face). Honestly, the best part about this recent East Bay Express article about John Russo and Alameda was this part:

Russo said he plans to appoint Lisa Goldman, currently serving as acting city manager, to be his second in command…

While there was a lot of talk about her immediate predecessor being a straight shooter and “telling it like it is,” watching Lisa Goldman during all these discussions about the budget have been a revelation. I haven’t watched that many years of City Council meetings, just since I started this blog, but by far, she is the first City Manager (along with Controller Fred Marsh) to present the budget — and its problems — in such plain and honest terms. It was nice to see the City Council appreciate her efforts too. And I am so glad that she is sticking around because the City is facing some challenging times ahead.

So this upcoming Monday will be John Russo’s first day on the job and of course we’ll all be breathlessly watching to see if he mucks up.


June 6, 2011

To the bone

Lost in the frenzy of last week’s news blitz was discussion about Alameda’s budget.   Last week the City Council had their first look of the budget cuts that would be necessary to keep the City afloat.   It turns out that the budget was even more grim than anticipated because someone forgot to account for certain expenditures for the 2011-12 budget year.

Controller Fred Marsh explains:

For those who choose not to watch, here’s the nutshell, the accounting tricks used previously to pad previous year budgets had been exhausted for 2011-12 and the budget needed to begin repaying bonds from the general fund and that was not included in the 2011-12 budget (that was an addition $827K unaccounted for).   For two special funds, Library and Fleet Maintenance, not enough was budgeted to these two operations and because they cannot carry a negative fund balance (aka reserve) City Staff needed to reallocate the difference so that they would not be in the negative, both these total another $800K+.


April 14, 2011

Reporting on the CAFR: you’re doing it wrong

On Tuesday night, after the whole business about the Golf Complex was completed.  The decision was that the City Council would give City Staff time to review the proposal by Ron Cowan before making any definitive decisions.    KemperSports seemed sufficiently chastened by prospects that any number of alternate operators might be able to fill in for them and came in a lot more flexible than before.   Acting City Manager Lisa Goldman confirmed that our former Interim City Manager had made promises to KemperSports that the City would issue tax-exempt bonds to finance KemperSports’ capital improvements to the site (in the neighborhood of $5 million) and that KemperSports would pay the debt service on the bonds, which Lisa Goldman put the kibosh on because it wouldn’t be kosher.

The City Council asked to have City Staff work on a pinning down a few more items in the Alameda Junior Golf Association term sheet and then to bring back a lease to the Council.   I’ll talk more about the Cowan plan when I get a chance to review it, but another equally interesting conversation occurred after most people vacated the room last night that John P. hinted at in yesterday’s comments.


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