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Entries in City of Grand Junction (8)

Wednesday
Oct192016

City of Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority Lawsuit Exposes Insider Dealings and Contamination Issues Under Main Street

VetTheGov located the lawsuit filed by former City of Grand Junction Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Executive Director John Schneiger. Based on the allegations regarding this entity, it appears this is just another pay-to-play organization for the local good ole boy network. But rest assured, government immunity will be invoked, and the local judicial's will no doubt rule in favor of the good ole boys and girls network using government for their personal benefit.  

Some highlights from the lawsuit:

  • Commingling of Funds between the Downtown Development Fund and the Grand Junction Business Improvement District (BID) noted in paragraph 25 and 27 of the lawsuit.
  • Breach of fiduciary duties by the cities treasurer noted in paragraph 28.
  • DDA and BID not operated as separate entities as required by law.
  • Jason Farrington and Kirk Granum (Board of Directors) ordered John Schneiger to violate DDA by-Laws and Memorandums of Understanding paragraph 43.
  • Board of Director's mismanagement of the DDA and BID and conflict of interest between the two entities noted in paragraph 54.
  • Overpayment of Public Funds for the Facade Enhancement Program which only allowed $10,000 over the 4-year program actually paid out $32,000 noted in paragraph 57.
  • No accurate record keeping and many misplaced or lost records noted in paragraph 58.
  • Throughout Mr. Schneiger’s first weeks as the DDA’s Executive Director, he kept discovering instances where the Board of Directors for the BID and the DDA were misallocating and misappropriating funds from the DDA to the BID, as well as other improprieties with the use of public funds noted in paragraph 63.
  • Board violated Sunshine Laws as noted in paragraph 76.
  • Covering up extent of downtown petroleum contamination in paragraphs 79-86.
  • The decision to terminate Mr. Schneiger’s employment as the Executive Director of the DDA was made by the City and the Board of Directors of the DDA and the BID due to Mr. Schneiger’s desire to address the petroleum contamination issues due to the public safety concerns he had about that, along with Mr. Schneiger’s demands that public funds, assets, and liabilities with respect to the DDA and the BID stop being misappropriated and misallocated. 
  • Mr. Schneiger’s employment was improperly terminated due to the fact that he was bringing significant public issues to light in regard to the operation of the DDA and the BID, the inappropriate use of public funds in regard to these two entities, and the concerns he had about petroleum contamination in downtown Grand Junction as noted in paragraph 99. 



As the trail of former City of Grand Junction employees that look to expose the insider dealings of a progressive out of control government entity continues to climb, rest assured there will be more pay offs and hush monies thrown around. At least in this case some of the TRUTH has become public. Everything else is being held very tightly behind the City of Grand Junction attorneys office!

See VetTheGov's response from the city when trying to obtain an affidavit written and emailed to the City of Grand Junction's Council regarding the Elizabeth Tice termination. Interesting that the city used Special Council to respond! Remember, the system protects the system and you don't have the needed funds to take on city hall ever! 

Stay tuned....

Friday
Sep302016

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing's Dangerous Undertones via Fed Grants!

VetTheGov recently spoke out against Mesa County accepting a Federal pass-through grant that ended up in a local non-profit entity through the Incubator system called the Business Loan Fund. During the Mesa County commissioner meeting several issues came up and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) raised serious concern.  In the short 5-minute video below, a must watch, you will notice why Douglas County commissioners recently voted down accepting any more Federal Community Block Grants.

Some other links discussing AFFH that are worthy of your time!

http://affh.net/affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing/

http://americanpolicy.org/2016/07/19/listen-time-hud-will-destroy-city/

City of Grand Junction AFFH 2016 plan

UN pushing AFFH

Executive Summary HUD Rule which was published as finalized in the federal register July 16, 2015.

Not only did VetTheGov learn that the board meetings of this Business Loan Fund were held in private, there is little information released or found related to Transparency and Deliquencies. Please take the time to watch VetTheGov's Q & A to the MCBOCC and the Business Loan Fund managers. 

Highlights of the commissioner meeting video at each minute mark.  Fair to every local business?  You decide.

1:00 Mesa County CFO Scott Stewart describes AFFH via HUD

3:10 Regulations begin in 2021-FALSE they are already in effect as the initial regulation was made public in 2013.

4:10 Commissioner McInnis speaks regarding AFFH and suggest the many dangers of this program to Mesa County

8:10 VetTheGov questions why Mesa County has to be part of this federal grant and not just the non-profit entity.  Commissioner Pugliese responds.

9:32 VetTheGov ask since federal funds are passed through to non-profit business, access to public information is lost.

11:29 VetTheGov ask Commissioner Justman who sits on the revolving fund board what happens when a loan user defaults on loan. Refers to County Attorney Coleman stating "I have no answer" even though Justman supposedly attends these meetings.

12:23 Executive Director of the Incubator Jon Maraschin admits meetings are in fact held in private and are not open to the public.

13:25 Jon Maraschin answers Commissioner McInnis that Commissioner Justman in fact receives default loan information at these private meetings the public is not allowed to attend.

13:48 Jon Maraschin responds to Commissioner McInnis that meetings are private.

14:20 Commissioner Pugliese states none of the commissioners sit on the loan fund board. WOW! 

14:30 Jon Maraschin explains how loans are distributed and the loan board that oversees it.  Surely full of local bankers on this board.

15:34 Loan Fund Manager Dean Didario explains the private revolving federal fund.

16:50 Delinquency Rate

17:55 VetTheGov Who is on the hook? McInnis answers first and states how many of these revolving loans default.  Who is not telling the truth???

19:45 Jon Maraschin states borrowers are on the hook, not taxpayers.  Hmmmm....not what the grant states.

22:35 2.5 FTE's paid from revolving fund of $5 Million federal tax dollars.  You the taxpayer are never returned your initial investment.

24:50 VetTheGov ask the commissioners if the current grant has already accepted the AFFH.  NO IDEA? 

The 2015 Community Development Block Grant #F15CDB14595 is below for your review.  The statutes that AFFH are under are on page 20 Exhibit A applicable laws. 24 CFR Subtitle A & B

Stay tuned as VetTheGov is awaiting CORA request for any audits and specific financials related to the usage of these federal grant dollars. In the meantime, email your county commissioners and tell them to turn back these federal tentacle grants!

Saturday
Aug292015

Did Commissioner's Scott McInnis & John Justman Violate Open Meeting Law?

In a previous VetTheGov exclusive story regarding an undaunted $250 Million plus stormwater bailout it appears the best way forward is to change the rules when they don't fit your agenda. Commissioner Scott McInnis is very familiar with this playbook after his years in Washington D.C. and along with his protege city councilman Duncan MacArthur, the federal fix is in. Instead of a weekly schedule full of business meetings regarding jobs, the local economy, and the BLM overreach, two of our county commissioners decide to play the smoke & mirror game at the monthly GOP men's meeting on August 25, 2015 with the entire agenda being an elected or appointed GVDD board. 

The most interesting piece to this is that no public announcement was made or posted on the Mesa County website or in the Commissioners calendars shown below. The monthly republicans men's meeting for August not located on the website calendar either as in previous months. Why is a hot potato topic having non-disclosed public meetings with no following of the Open Meeting LAW? Interesting to note the GVDD manager was asked to attend with the intention to discredit the GVDD board structure rather than discuss a positive way forward. Upon entering the room there were the terms Elected vs Appointed on the white board as those in attendance were being versed as to the best way forward. You see Commissioner McGinnis has got this under his direct control and you can see the manipulation and Law violations that he learned in D.C. are working well.  Yet no one in the GOP good ole boy club stepped up and pointed out the law breaking by their local officials occuring in front of their very eyes.  Surely this isn't the first time such an occurrence has happened!  See the unfilled days on the Commissioner's Calendar below. VetTheGov wonders what these elected do during these slow weeks. One thing for sure their government paychecks get cashed!



VetTheGov will breakdown of the Colorado Open Meeting law C.R.S. 24-6-402 using just a couple of paragraphs from the statute:

(1) For the purposes of this section:

(a) "Local public body" means any board, committee, commission, authority, or other advisory, policy-making, rule-making, or formally constituted body of any political subdivision of the state and any public or private entity to which a political subdivision, or an official thereof, has delegated a governmental decision-making function but does not include persons on the administrative staff of the local public body.

(b) "Meeting" means any kind of gathering, convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, electronically, or by other means of communication.

(c) "Political subdivision of the state" includes, but is not limited to, any county, city, city and county, town, home rule city, home rule county, home rule city and county, school district, special district, local improvement district, special improvement district, or service district.

(d) "State public body" means any board, committee, commission, or other advisory, policy-making, rule-making, decision-making, or formally constituted body of any state agency, state authority, governing board of a state institution of higher education including the regents of the university of Colorado, a nonprofit corporation incorporated pursuant to section 23-5-121 (2), C.R.S., or the general assembly, and any public or private entity to which the state, or an official thereof, has delegated a governmental decision-making function but does not include persons on the administrative staff of the state public body.

(2) (a) All meetings of two or more members of any state public body at which any public business is discussed or at which any formal action may be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times.

(b) All meetings of a quorum or three or more members of any local public body, whichever is fewer, at which any public business is discussed or at which any formal action may be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times.

(c) Any meetings at which the adoption of any proposed policy, position, resolution, rule, regulation, or formal action occurs or at which a majority or quorum of the body is in attendance, or is expected to be in attendance, shall be held only after full and timely notice to the public. In addition to any other means of full and timely notice, a local public body shall be deemed to have given full and timely notice if the notice of the meeting is posted in a designated public place within the boundaries of the local public body no less than twenty-four hours prior to the holding of the meeting. The public place or places for posting such notice shall be designated annually at the local public body's first regular meeting of each calendar year. The posting shall include specific agenda information where possible.

(d) (I) Minutes of any meeting of a state public body shall be taken and promptly recorded, and such records shall be open to public inspection. The minutes of a meeting during which an executive session authorized under subsection (3) of this section is held shall reflect the topic of the discussion at the executive session.

You are beginning to get a glimpse into the local power elites game and how they work and it doesn't include following the Law! Not a surprise to many but it's simply the truth of how government and the cronies work in the shadows. Stay tuned for surely more to come on this misadventure in the shadows.

Friday
Aug142015

EXCLUSIVE: Mesa Valley 5-2-1 Drainage Authority Dysfunction to Cost Taxpayers well over $250 Million?

VetTheGov has received quite a bit of information regarding storm water drainage in the Grand Valley that is set up to be the next big government created problem gone worse only to be fixed by big government imposed taxes. To set the background quickly and to keep the points short since otherwise this hot story would take several parts to get all relevant information out to the public. VetTheGov offers the following information to make your own decision as to who is responsible and ultimately who will pay.

The Grand Valley Drainage District (GVDD) was established in 1915 and has authority over 100 square miles that includes 128+ miles of open drains and 130+ miles of piped drainage facilities according to their About Us web page. The main purpose of the district is to allow excess and runoff water from agricultural irrigation canals to be fed back to the Colorado River thus alleviated high water tables and higher salinity being forced upward to the fertile topsoils. This system has operated well over 100 years until urban development entered the equation along with EPA's Clean Water Act (CWA) which is now in Tier II compliance. So to simplify permitting and to streamline implementation of the Tier II regulations in the valley the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority was established in 2004. VetTheGov must note that the irrigation runoff waters, typically high with Nitrogen/Phosphorus aka Fertilizer, are exempt from the CWA at this point in time.

Since 2004 the entity has not been very effective implementing the requirements of the CWA and therefore caused the current war between GVDD, Mesa County, and all the municipalities included in the 5-2-1 pact. Studies were conducted by the 5-2-1 up until 2009 when then Commissioner Meis stated the county had no more money to fund the studies. The war continues to involve stormwater drainage from all county and municipalities storm runoff of "regulated water" according the CWA into GVDD's piping that currently has over 28 points back into the Colorado River not included natural washes. GVDD has written a multitude of letters to all who will listen and held multiple meetings to gain the attention needed for the existing problems of capacity. GVDD has made it clear to all entities that they will no longer allow storm runoff from the county or the three other municipalities in the valley unless they pay to do so. See letter below from GVDD to Board of County Commissioners dated November 7, 2014 which gives a very telling scenario!



None of the local governments responded to the letters sent by GVDD, so GVDD decided they had the legislative authority to impose storm fees on their own and adopted resolutions 2014-110, 2014-111, and 2014-112 on April 22, 2014 to begin this collection process based on the all the storm water studies conducted in previous years and to help pay for studies never finished since 2009 Commissioner Meis decision along with the several critical upgrades already discovered. GVDD anticipates an additional $2.6 Million in annual collections in which a majority will be saved for future projects and anticipated huge revenue bonds for a federally mandated Municipal Separate Storm Water Systems called an MS4 to be added county wide with current estimates well over $250 Million. This topic will make for interesting debate and likely litigation/mediation since Commissioner Pugliese recently mentioned Mesa County has another $3 Million to trim off of next years budget.

VetTheGov went to the Mesa County site to look for it's Storm Water Management Manual (SWMM) and it linked directly to the City of GJ site for it's municipal codes and so it appears Mesa County has adopted the city's SWMM.  In the city code the following appears in Chapter 28:

28.12.100 Post-construction BMPs.

Mesa County, the City of Grand Junction, the Grand Junction Drainage District, and the Town of Palisade, who are members of the Drainage Authority, have obtained permits to discharge stormwater under the Colorado Discharge Permit System (permit numbers COR-090031, COR-090077, COR-090006, and COR-090005, respectively). The terms and conditions of the permits set forth minimum requirements for stormwater management programs including construction site stormwater runoff control and post-construction stormwater management for new development and redevelopment to reduce pollutants in all stormwater runoff to the MS4

This is a telling code as well:

28.52.010 Introduction.

A large number of agricultural irrigation facilities exist in Mesa County, and many have historically intercepted runoff from rural and agricultural areas with little consequence. However, the development (urbanization) of these areas results in storm runoff of much higher peak flows and larger total volumes. In addition, water quality of the runoff is often adversely impacted by this urbanization. As a result, the traditional practice of utilizing irrigation ditches, drains, and reservoirs for stormwater control must be reexamined on a case-by-case basis.

A question to consider asking the city and county is for actual documentation of the MS4's mentioned in the city code as the definition states the MS4's are owned and operated by the city or county. It is clear with this issue at hand neither the city or county own or operate an MS4 system.

Now imagine, if you will, you are an elected official running for re-election and this hits your radar screen. Well you have the safe non-election year officials step up and play the smoke & mirrors game and then blast it off the radar screens until folks get their new tax bills from GVDD and the real rage begins. By then the elected are hoping their paychecks are solidified in re-election bids and the smoke & mirror capers complete the deflection of bad news for the local tax slaves up until this moment. Hence we move on to the smoke & mirror capers, county commissioner Scott McInnis and city councilman Duncan McArthur.

In response to the GVDD's multiple attempts to get the City of GJ and Mesa County's attention, the below letters were drafted by Scott McInnis and Duncan McArthur using their grandiose titles but not on city or county letterhead. Interesting to note these letters were emailed using the Mesa County administrative assistant Stephanie Reecy. The letters by McInnis and McArthur suggest that our state elected offer new state legislation to fix years of kicking the can down the road and let the next generation deal with the past and current poor management decisions of an out of control clueless government. Sound familiar? See the letters below and a follow-up clarification email to the entire council by McArthur explaining why he took the lead speaking on behalf of the city council. There is no doubt McArthur and McInnis have put the city council and county commissioner board and the local tax slaves in a very interesting position and will be fun to follow the street sweepers on this one. 

Date: Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 2:01 PM -0700
Subject: Fwd: GVDD's Letter
To: "Barbara Traylor Smith" , "Belinda White" , "Bennett Boeschenstein" , "Chris Kennedy" , "Duncan McArthur" , "John Shaver" , "Martin Chazen" , "Phyllis Norris" , "Rick Taggart" , "Sam Rainguet" , "Tim Moore" , "Shaunalee Kronkright"

Good Afternoon,

I believe that you have all received a letter from GVDD discussing their fee. In that letter, they mentioned me personally and attributed an erroneous comment that I supposedly made so this email is to correct that statement.

I did make a presentation to WCCA's Board about Commissioner McInnis and I seeking support to have the legislators consider changing GVDD's current form of governance to one that is more representative. In that presentation, I made no criticism of the GVDD Board's competency. My comments has always been that we have an agency that is seeking to collect and spend over $60 million over the next 20 years with effectively no oversight. I also mentioned that, under the current form of governance, GVDD mis-managed its mill levy over the years costing the District millions but that is a matter of record and has even been acknowledged by former District representatives. Both Commissioner McInnis and I have repeatedly stated that we are not saying anyone has done anything wrong. But an organization with over $100 million in assets seeking to collect and spend over $60 million without any effective oversight is a recipe for problems.

With all that being said, you will received a letter this afternoon, if you have not already received it, recommending that the issue of governance be referred to DOLA to study the issue and make their recommendation to the legislators on how the District would best be governed. This takes the political jabs and egos out of the question because that is not what this is all about. It is about how best to serve the citizens of this valley.

Thanks you.

Duncan McArthur

McArthur's email proves he has only his best interest in mind as he wants to push these hard decisions over to DOLA and the state elected to get this hot topic away from local media and tax payer attention and appoint their own hand picked board to continue the kicking of the can down the road. This is the City's sudden Resolution to be adopted here and not sure if ever approved or voted upon. Without the ability to develop land any further due to storm runoff drainage MS4 issue it begins to put strain on builders and real estate agents and of course higher tax bases with the possibilities for the city to ignore their very own codes. 

Scott McInnis attended a meeting with GVDD on January 24, 2015 and asked GVDD for two months to get his technical information together and to get the buy in from Commissioner's Justman and Pugliese. Scott McInnis then instructs county employee Julie Constan to begin a white paper crusade to convince the other commissioners. However five months later the 5-2-1 is being resurrected to its original dysfunctional state but with the added two politically appointed members. Leave no doubt the progressive big government types already sitting on the 5-2-1 board will leave a legacy for the many future tax slaves that will pay dearly for this Juntion Dysfunction!

The concept offered by McInnis and McArthur, who sit on the current appointed 5-2-1 board, is to continue the 5-2-1 dysfunction by adding two more to the board making five that will be all be appointed via the good ole boy political network that always take care of friends in the mesa county elite ranks. Since Scott McInnis now has $500K to contribute to the valley via his 10-year Western Way PAC funding, he could play savior for the 5-2-1's poor planning since its inception. So far from the recent PAC pay outs it appears local bank fees, investment gain taxes, CMU, cell phone calls, and recently Patrick Davis of "Colorado Liberty Alliance" for $15,000.00 are the token winners so far. Side Note VetTheGov found this interesting article about the Colorado Liberty Alliance as a hit tool used to take out TEA party candidates within the republican party and specifically Marsha Looper who was running against Amy Stephens aka"Amycare" who gave us our current bankrupt and high cost federal healthcare exchange in Colorado. 

VetTheGov will keep all you tax slaves up to date in the upcoming weeks as this surely will play out as one of the biggest political power plays to date in Mesa County. The below picture taken by VetTheGov shows a drain on a Mesa County residential road that has not been cleaned or swept all year which proves at least the 5-2-1 is another government failure! VetTheGov dedicates the drain and names it on behalf of all tax slaves in the valley the McInnis-McArthur Drainage District Trophy Drain since without a doubt these two officials will save us all from the impending implosion. No worries because all these characters are protected by the Government Immunity Act. This will all end with a call for help to Washington D.C. that will keep the Grand Valley under Federal Rule and prove the bigger question of why the local tax slaves need any local officials at all! Stay tuned more to come!

 

Friday
Jul312015

Breaking: City of Grand Junction Elizabeth Tice Separation Agreement

VetTheGov just received details regarding the $125,000.00 City of Grand Junction separation agreement as embeded below.  The agreement confirms there is an ongoing investigation into the Human Resources Director Claudia Hazelhurst and City Attorney John Shaver among others.  Stay tuned as surely more payouts for taxpayers ahead!

 

Tuesday
Mar262013

City of Grand Junction-DO AS I SAY AND NOT AS I DO!!!

Since spring is in the air it appears the City of Grand Junction street sweepers are out in action. So what's the big deal we need to have our roads cleaned, right? Well we would all agree this is a noble task that the tax paying public driving on city roads would expect.

However when you drive past these large dust busters/dust makers, it appears they are violating their own city code noted below and is described as an unlawful act and could result in jail time. Wow that's a huge statement!  

8.20.010 Control of dust-producing areas.

It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess or control any cleared area, parking lot, vacant lot or other site used by vehicular traffic without implementing an effective abatement or preventive fugitive dust-control measure, as may be required, which may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(a)    Wetting down of the dust-producing area;

(b)    Landscaping;

(c)    Covering, shielding or enclosing;

(d)    Paving on a temporary or permanent basis;

(e)    Treating through the use of palliatives and chemical stabilization.

(Code 1994 § 16-126; Code 1965 § 19-70)

Unlawful for not controlling dust? So your next question will be what are the ramifications of creating such an act of dust pollution? Here you go and it is hefty that includes JAIL of up to 10 days and up to $1,000.00 fine or BOTH! They do have a first conviction out of a slap on the wrist 100.00 fine but nevertheless it's a conviction!

8.20.130 Penalty.

(a)    Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this chapter shall be fined not more than $1,000 and/or 10 days in jail for each offense. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day, or portion thereof, during or on which a violation occurs or continues. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a realtor, closer or inspector involved in a transfer of ownership shall not be deemed to have violated this chapter in the event that a transfer of ownership occurs in violation of this chapter, unless such realtor, closer or inspector is the transferor, grantor or seller. For the first conviction of GJMC 8.20.060, a person, firm or corporation shall not be fined in excess of $100.00 and no jail time shall be imposed.

(b)    Unless otherwise authorized, the operation of a wood stove or fireplace on a high pollution, “no burn” day is found and declared to be a nuisance against both the public and private individuals. It is the intent and the purpose of the City Council that private individuals aggrieved or injured by the unauthorized operation of a wood stove or fireplace on a high pollution, “no burn” day or days may cite a violation of this chapter or any regulation implementing this chapter as evidence of nuisance per se in support of any claim for damages and/or injunctive or other relief before a court of competent jurisdiction, including the Municipal Court. It is therefore found and declared that any written evidence of a violation of this chapter or any regulation implementing this chapter issued by an authorized agent for the City of Grand Junction, and served on any individual as required by law, shall constitute prima facie evidence of the violation of this chapter and/or any applicable regulation implementing this chapter, as well as prima facie evidence of a nuisance per se.

(c)    This section shall not confer a private right for an action against the City of Grand Junction for the endorsement of this chapter or for the enforcement of any regulation implementing this chapter.

(Amended during 2009 recodification; Ord. 2981, 2-19-97. Code 1994 § 16-138)

So as you watch the video below, who should get fined or arrested for allowing contaminated road dust from street sweepers to infect our City and County air???



See the EPA's Clean Air Act for additional information and contact your city officials and ask why they are throwing so much contaminated 2.5 and 10 micron particulates into the air! http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/laws/caa.html 

Saturday
Jul022011

BIG Government's appetite for Fossil Fuels!

VetTheGov just returned from a trip to Australia and was dumbfounded by the hypocrisy of its government regarding pollution and energy consumption. Australia is definitely the poster child for how a government controls pollution from its businesses, citizens, and visitors, right? Think again! Be on the lookout as the United States is watching Australia closely so they can bring forth their Cap & Tax scheme soon!

VetTheGov read an interesting article while in Australia regarding the governments Do as I Say not as I Do energy policy and consumption. When your government becomes the leading employer, largest asset owner, and dictator of all policy, they can't help but be the leading energy user. What's interesting to note is that the environmental justice groups are beginning to focus their attention on government. Surely a move the government was hoping to deflect with all the renewable energy programs implemented on the backs of the taxpayers. Australia lead the way with wind energy but look at all the hassles they now face such as noise pollution! Note: When walking around all the larger cities in Australia it was difficult to avoid all the second hand smoke. It appears Australians love tobacco and the government is enjoying the tax benefit! Also take note of the heavy handed fist used by the government to curb social behavior! If this is the case for tobacco then why aren't they using the same tactic to combat AIDS???

Industry specific areas of Australia seem to have different standards placed upon them. For instance, VetTheGov passed a sugar mill complex and couldn't help but notice two large smoke stacks spewing dirty pollution from them. See picture below! This is a $1.75 Billion dollar industry for Australia and no doubt the government is looking for new revenue streams from this industry. No Worries is a favorite saying in Australia and the government uses this to their benefit as you will see by the coming Carbon Tax soon to pass in the next couple of weeks.

Bringing this full circle back to the States and locally in Colorado, our government is consuming so much energy that the fight against the energy producers will intensify. In case you need more evidence of the energy used by government here is a great breakdown of the Department of Defense daily dose! Quick breakdown for those not reading the link: 2009 consumption of delivered 932 Trillion Btu's cost $13.3 Billion; emitted 73 Million tons of CO2; Use 360,000 barrels of oil daily.

For an idea of local energy government expenses, Mesa County spent $236,544.87 in energy and fuel related expenses in April 2011 alone. If you multiply over an annual basis this equals over $2.8 Million in energy cost! This total does not include all other related expenses such as air travel and travel reimbursements. VetTheGov must point out cost for the social justice program GVT which had cost of fuel and service fees from local tax dollars in April alone of $148,714.08. The City of Grand Junction uses somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 Million annually! If we add in all the school district and State government energy expenditures you can you see how quickly the need for Fossil Fuels arise for our government. 

So the question of the moment once again is the government concerned with your usage of energy more than they are concerned with their own usage? VetTheGov believes government wants you to curb your very small appetite for energy because they need more than you! Remember the next time you hear a story on energy, it should directly relate back to our government's use rather than yours! 

Sunday
Jun122011

2011 City of Grand Junction's Balanced Budget...Really?

"Compel us to run a balanced budget?" This quote can be found on the City of Grand Junction's budget overview here. VetTheGov digs a little deeper for a more realistic idea of where your tax dollars are being spent.

The City of Grand Junction has voted to spend $147.2 Million during the 2011 fiscal year compared to Mesa County's 2011 budget of $140.9 Million. Of the $147.2 Million, 38% or $55.6 Million is cost of employees Pay & Benefits which is currently at 631 Full Time Employees (FTE) and been kept the same as 2010. This is an average of $88,500.00 per FTE but not a true across the board breakdown. 48% of the 631 FTE's or 302 FTE's are law enforcement positions, 217 FTE's are general fund positions, and 110 FTE's are associated with enterprise funds.

Click here to see a powerpoint overview of the 2011 budget. While it certainly includes cuts in positions, it also shows an increase in fees which in reality is code word for an additional tax whether in the form of a parking ticket, speeding ticket, sewer tap, or use of a public facility. VetTheGov noticed that overall in the 2011 budget shows a total loss of ($23.4 Million) for the year, yet the city still maintains its $20 million just in case fund.

Highlights of the budget show total revenue projected at $124.6 Million and total expenses at $147.2 Million. Does this sound balanced? Well Yes, if you are the city government and keep $20 Million in reserves then they can fudge everywhere else.

Here is a quick list of losing programs in this years budget minus the politically correct handling of the homeless population by the Police as many would consider the police force a winner in regards to their new and improved relationship! Along with the new $12.3 Million dollar trophy building and furnished tents this should help improve tensions between the homeless and local law enforcement!

Vacation & Convention Bureau loses ($62,500) and has $733,512 in employee cost and another $1,025,042 in operating cost. This program generates in revenue from Hotel taxes, so the question is why is this losing? It's no wonder the city pays close attention to hotel receipts! Why are the taxpayers allowing this to continue especially when the city is paying over $125,000.00 annually for the VCB website? Looks like there are great travel benefits for some of the employees!

Solid Waste removal loses ($165,581) and carries $1,028,742 in employee and benefit cost and $2,224,572 in operation cost. Worthy to note expenses related to dump and recycling fees to the landfill of $1,088,137 and $99,194 in fuel cost.

Two Rivers Convention Center breaks even this year but VetTheGov must note some cost associated with the convention center. $1.2 Million for full and part-time employees and benefits, $18,045 telephone bill, and $217,665 in gas, electric, and utility cost. Side note: Remember the government tells you to conserve energy, but are they? Seems hypocritical to VetTheGov when they are the number one consumer for utilities but the government blames you for your lifestyle utility choices! 

The swimming pool fund makes $1.00 this year. But interesting to note from the powerpoint presentation page 14 slide labeled Model #2 that the Orchard Mesa pool will close for the summer if revenues further decline. Also budget shows $102,000 in energy and utility cost. Question: How can they close something the tax payers are already funding? On top of that how can they add fees to programs already being funded by the general fund tax receipts?

Parking Authority Fund (Parking tickets and meter revenue) would normally make money for the city, however they have some debt repayment that makes them lose ($102,707) this year.  

Ridges Irrigation Fund budgeted to lose ($44,561) which carries employee cost of $96,470 and electric cost of $100,000.

The controversial ambulance takeover is yet another loser for the city of ($34,699)! This fund carries just under $1.8 Million in employee and benefit cost and looks like the city is burying the fuel cost in another fund. 

The Joint Sewer System Fund is the biggest loser this year at ($3,419,432). Carries just over $2.8 Million in salaries and benefits, $570,000 in electric and gas cost, and $272,000 in landfill cost.

VetTheGov must mention the city's contribution from the General fund to the losing social justice program Grand Valley Transit of $419,885.

VetTheGov found in comparing budgets from 2010 to 2011 the city increased the budget on paper from $152.9 Million to $167.3 Million which is a 10% increase during difficult times! Now if you use actual spent dollars of $121.8 Million from 2010 and compare to this years budget of $147.2 Million you get an actual increase of 17%

VetTheGov hopes this information is helpful in following your tax dollars and how they are spent. Hopefully you are receiving great services from your local government and feel you are getting your monies worth! Ask yourself why do the fees keep getting increased on top of paying taxes? Ask what happens if they run out of money? Will they switch off your waste pickup? Will they portion water? What VetTheGov is asking is will the city hold you hostage for services? The city already uses the media to increase fees by threatening cuts to these major services. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look into our BIG out of control government spending habits!