Letter: City of Antioch on the Brink of Financial Disaster

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The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Josh Young

There is not a moment in my childhood where I don’t remember Antioch, California being a place I can play, hike, swim, fish or explore. My mother’s family has historic roots, creating jobs and opportunities for people. With its beautiful views of rolling hills, vast delta water space and marshy ecosystems. Antioch was a beautiful town.

Antioch is not as I remembered it.

Unfortunately, Antioch, California has transformed into a city with under performing schools, crumbling roads and infrastructure, blight, increased homelessness and worst of all it is a city were criminals can perpetrate their acts nearly undetected by law enforcement before it’s too late.

In 2013 the City of Antioch passed Measure C with asked voters to increase sale tax so that the city can employ more Police Officers to directly reduce crime throughout the city.

The city was to raise an estimated $13,000,000 for policy and public safety services. In addition, in 2014 the city asked voters to vote on Measure O. Measure O authorized the city to adopt a residential landlord business license tax based on the type and number of units and confirmed the existing gross receipts business license tax with an increased minimum tax level. I am unaware of the actual revenue Measure O brought Antioch as of to this point. However, its purpose was to pay for over $3,000,000 in budget deficits not pick up by Measure C for 2016/2017 fiscal year.

In 2018, Antioch once again came to voters asking for more funding. This time it was Measure W, A yes vote was a vote in favor of authorizing the city to renew a one-cent (1.0 percent) sales tax on retail sales to fund emergency programs and essential services. To maintain Antioch’s fiscal stability, police patrols, 911 emergency response, youth violence prevention programs; ensuring water quality/safety; repairing streets; cleaning up parks/illegal dumping; restoring youth after school/summer programs; other essential services; shall the measure be adopted approving an ordinance to renew the sales tax at the one-cent rate, raising approximately $14,000,000 annually, expiring in twenty years, with mandatory annual independent financial audits, and independent citizens oversight.

As you can see, residences in Antioch are interested in strong crime reductions, removal of blight, and a community that could thrive on commerce and open for business.

However, Antioch has a major problem. Antioch is on the brink of financial disaster. As of February’s budget report, Antioch has over $161,000,000 in unfunded liabilities, with an even more potentially disastrous medical liabilities potion of the CALPers program. This is Antioch’s largest debt. The city doesn’t own enough assets to pay for its debts, nor does it have enough ongoing cash-flow to address the debt outside of the pay as you go option (Pension Payments), so, Antioch keeps increasing taxes to provide services.

Now the City Staff is recommending hiring a 3rd economic development director and reassigning the Assistant City Manager role to a Public Information Officer to assist in social media and marketing publications for over $137,000!!!

Really?! The city is grossly in debt and now it wants to create 2 new positions that at a time Antioch really can’t afford.

What Antioch should do is take a long hard look in the mirror, then look at all the faces of the youth in our communities and ask itself, “in the next 10, 15 or 30 years, am I creating a thriving community full of opportunity, or I am destroying the future of our city.”

A separate trust fund should be created and while Antioch is experiencing an increase in tax revenue, monies should be allocated for saving for when or if the next economic downturn hits our nation.

Antioch cannot simply be ok with spending money just because it has it.  Antioch must be fiscally responsible and our leaders must be held accountable.  This is the time to save and make debt reductions, not create social programs or positions the city can’t afford.

As my father always told me, don’t spend money you don’t have, don’t get into debt and get on a budget that will last you a lifetime of gain and not a lifetime of pain.

The Antioch City Council should NOT approve the City Staff approved budget in its current form.

Please show up Tuesday, February 26th to the Antioch City Council meeting and express your concern. Your voice matters.

By Josh Young
Antioch Resident


9 COMMENTS

  1. Antioch has long mismanaged money( remember the ferryboat fiasco) over the years. We voted for money to go directly to police funding yet when I called 911 TWICE I was put on HOLD! I could have been murdered or something by the time they came back on if it was an urgent situation! And flagged down a police officer and he said they were short staffed. 🤦🏻‍♀️That does not make me feel safe! Follow Brentwood leaders who had a vision and plan and made their city nice and their police dept is tough on crime! Antioch stop infighting and get it together! Stop wasting money! Vote all you can out if office if they don’t perform and get fiscally responsible people maybe like Josh Young who wrote a great letter!

    • Dude, Ellen, 911 is for emergencies! That’s why APD has a non-emergency number just like every other police department in America for you to call. You sound like Permit Patty or BBQ Betty.

      • jeremy, Ellen is not a “dude.” She called 911 because IT WAS AN EMERGENCY! Now, put down that bong and read her post carefully. You obviously have a problem with READING COMPREHENSION!

      • It was an emergency for a series of gunshots and was worried someone may have been shot or hurt! It was not for me but to save whoever that gunshot was aimed at! I was not sure bc some cities have sound locators that can pinpoint where that gunshot came from. But someone did tell me maybe busy bc others were calling about those gunshots too. If we are that short handed in 911 I would hope some of those taxes that we approved would go to staffing 911 and police patrols!

  2. I go out of my way to not spend money in Pittsburg and Antioch due to the bad staff that cannot be trusted with tax dollars. I take my money to other cities and spend there giving them my tax dollars. Until Antioch can get its budget in check and safe quality streets, and less taxes it will continue.

  3. What happened to my post from last night when I stated I had been at the budget meeting and what I thought of it?

  4. I refuse to spend any of my money in Antioch. The only tax they get is whatever I pay on gas, everything else goes to the city of Brentwood. Antioch squanders everything their given. After two Measures for Police Services, we’re still living in fear and nothing’s changed. At least in Brentwood I feel safe. And if I call the Police in Brentwood, I know someone’s coming. I cope with their (Antioch) crappy services, because I know I don’t pay anything into them. We might as well disband the Police Department, and hire private contractors for our safety.

  5. Its amazing that Antioch is this much in financial dispair and still continues to spend money like they have there own printing press sad what another 500,000 on rebranding I though joy motts was really going to bring some responsibility to the council but she is acting just like the mayor and rest of the council

  6. As long as you keep taking it money elsewhere then ya I can see it open your eyes non citizens who are here do the same thing make money and send it home save up then come over here and buy us out 711 gas stations and what not your just creating a bigger issue if your not part of the problem “this case you are” then be part if the solution what we do today our kids future depends on it. So go ahead you just f#$&×&# your kids future off GOOD JOB
    #HELPNOTHURT

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