Lately, the current real estate market in San Carlos has been extremely encouraging! Sorry….I realize that remark is out of place, but I thought I would start off on a positive note, because the rest of this post is, well, not so positive.
In a similar fashion to those bracing for the end of the world by watching the last days tick off of the Mayan Calendar, there are many in San Carlos watching the last precious days tick away until the city budget comes due and the dawn of a new era begins in San Carlos. Many long time San Carlans believe that the upcoming budget cuts will be the most staggering cuts in the history of the city. The San Carlos Police and Fire Departments are very close to a foregone conclusion in the eyes of many. All city departments and staff will be trimmed. The most visible cuts are those that are coming to the Parks and Recreation Department which has staff cuts and park closures on its list as a way to help meet the budget shortfall.
I’ve gotten a variety of feedback from citizens over the past few months. San Carlans tend to fall into one of the two groups detailed below:
Group #1 is angry. While they understand the need for San Carlos to live within its means, they also understand that Proposition 13 has really hampered any chance the city had at being self-sufficient and providing the customary services residents expect. They thought Measure U (1/2 cent raise in sales tax) was a legitimate compromise toward solving the budget shortfall because it split the costs of the sales tax with those that do not live in San Carlos, but come to San Carlos to visit the downtown area. Further frustrating this group is the fact that the vast majority of No on Measure U advocates were based in Sacramento and had never set foot in San Carlos. It’s easy to believe the rhetoric of the government can keep cutting, which is usually true in most cases, but that rhetoric now appears false as it relates to San Carlos’ ability to make cuts in lieu of Measure U’s demise and still provide customary services.
Group #2 is not happy about budget cuts, but they are satisfied that the City is finally being forced to live within its means. Many in this group believe that the pensions behind city workers and departments needs to be drastically cut back. Instead of passing parcel taxes and increasing sales taxes, San Carlos should be concentrating on generating its own revenue by taking advantage of the possible opportunities in east San Carlos and development along the CalTrain Corridor.
There are not a lot of folks falling somewhere in the middle of these two groups. You are either on one side, or the other.
There are last ditch attempts being fueled by some who subscribe to the Group #1 opinion. Currently, there are a few citizens trying very hard to organize what is essentially a 1,000 person march on City Hall for the June 14th City Council Meeting. While only it its early stages, this group seems to be gaining some momentum. I will be publishing their website for anyone interested as soon as I receive it.
San Carlos will look and feel a little different in the coming months. Time will tell if the right decisions were made. In the mean time, at least the real estate market has started to rebound.
What do the people who are angry want done? Do they want the city to try another revenue measure, or do they want to fight for cuts instead of outsourcing?