Stockton, like every U.S. city is facing definite financial troubles. No one questions that. However, reckless decisions made by this Mayor and City Council (as well as previous city leaders) have cost you, the taxpayer, tens of millions.
In case you’ve ever wondered where your tax dollars have gone, we’ve put together a list of government boondoggles, crippling litigation losses and eyebrow raising political deals. Understand that this a partial list. We’re confident there’s more.
1. City Council spent $48 Million to purchase a new City Hall building for itself. That’s just the purchase price and the cost to pay Wall Street to BORROW the money necessary for the new governmental palace. The total cost of the building after all the interest is calculated? We don’t know and the City Council never asked.
2. $33 Million settlement with Howard Jarivs Taxpayers Association due to the City illegally using Water Utility fees to fund the construction of the Stockton Events Center.
3. $22 million sunk into money losing Downtown Marina and has racked up $700,000 in annual operating cost losses. During the height of a City budget crisis, the Stockton City Council sunk $22 million into building a new downtown marina and then due to underestimating the costs, needed to add another $2.3 million to the bill. City bureaucrats estimated that the marina would lose $100,000 a year. The actual figure has balloned to $700,000 in losses a year.
4. Paid $1.25 million over the independent appraisal value for a piece of property owned by a former councilmember. The site was supposed to be used for a new fire station, which even the Stockton Fire Department stated it didn’t want. The Stockton Record’s Editorial Board urged the Council to reject the deal, stating, “the city shouldn’t be dopey. It should pay no more than the appraised value.” Unfortunately, Dopey won at that Council meeting. The Council this year scrapped plans for the fire station, meaning that $2.75 million taxpayer funds have been wasted. You can view the property here.
5. $4 million legal settlement because the City failed to maintain our sewer system, causing too many sewage spills and violating the Federal Clean Water Act.
6. $7 million loss at entertainment venues (Stockton Arena, Stockton Ballpark, Bob Hope Theater, etc.) subsidized by the City General Fund—which pays for firefighters and police officers
7. $25,000 to clean up elephant dung at the Stockton Arena.We’d write more, but why?
8. $205,000 settlement for City’s failure to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements within the city. Note that in addition to the settlement, money needed to be spent to bring facilities into compliance. We do not have that total
9. $200,000 settlement with the Building Industry Association of the Delta due to City improperly using development fees to pay for General Fund services.
10. $400,000 settlement with the San Joaquin Hotel & Motel Property Owner’s Association for devaluing property prior to the City attempting to purchase them.