The board of the Cameron Park Community Services District adopted a budget for the next fiscal year at its meeting Wednesday night.
After three budget workshops, including one on Monday, and endless complaints from the public about deficit spending, the board voted 4 to 1 to accept a budget that has a projected deficit of $113,265 but which will be covered by using contingency funds. The new budget anticipates revenues of $4,875,334 and expenses of $4,988,599. Board President Shiva Frentzen cast the lone no vote.
The district also projects it will end this fiscal year with a deficit of $201,380, which is being covered primarily by savings in the budget of the fire department contract.
Adoption of the budget and other board business was put on hold temporarily because of an incident earlier in the evening.
Resident David Gelbert chastised board member Scott McNeil for the way he treated Board President Shiva Frentzen at Monday’s budget workshop.
While Gelbert spoke, resident Bill Carey placed a sign in front of the podium which said, “McNiel, are you of sound mind tonite?”
Board members then requested that Carey remove the sign and voted 4 to 1 that he do so, with Frentzen voting no.
“Welcome to the people’s republic of Cameron Park,” Carey said.
When Carey didn’t remove the sign, board members got up one by one and left the room followed by their legal counsel. General Manager Mary Cahill then tried to remove the sign but was blocked.
Carey said that he made the sign in response to what happened at Monday’s budget committee meeting when McNeil turned to Frentzen and asked if she was in her right mind. “I felt she had been insulted and in effect he was saying that she was crazy,” Carey said.
The board members returned 10 minutes later and Frentzen asked Carey to remove the sign and keep it next to him. Carey did so and then went to the podium to accuse the rest of the board of not supporting Frentzen. “At the Monday meeting McNeil said Shiva was out of her mind. But none of you pinheads did anything. You’re a bunch of nutless wonders.”
“I want to remind you of what you’re doing,” said resident Vicky Neibauer. “If you pass this budget it has a huge hole in it. The district has gone from negative net assets in 2010 of $109,500 to negative assets now of $365,000. It’s likely you’re going to see more deterioration of your budget position. You plan to add two staff positions even though you’re facing an operational shortfall. You have the opportunity to truly balance the budget by pulling these two positions. You should make the decision to live within your means and then in September re-evaluate the budget. I urge you to do the responsible thing.”
Other residents echoed Neibauer’s comments. Gelbert asked, “When will the board realize that government at every level is contracting? Why do you think you can expand the staff here? You want two full-time fully benefited staff and have no way to pay for these positions. Why go down that road? Use a temp agency.”
Frentzen then offered a motion to cut park and community center expenses by 10 percent in the new budget in addition to making other changes to the proposed budget. However the motion failed for lack of a second.
Cahill reminded the board that the position of Recreation Coordinator was already a budgeted position and a new person had been hired and was starting July 1. She also said a permanent employee was needed at the front counter because of all the turnover experienced when they hired temp employees.
Board member Greg Stanton responded to the comments from the public by saying that the community center has no revenue stream other than from activities held there. “Cameron Park is built out unless we annex more property so we will see no additional revenue from property taxes. We are raising revenue by doing a better job of marketing the center and holding more events here,” he said. “Come September, if the money is not there, we will make the cuts needed.”
In a related action, the board also adopted new waste disposal rates after a presentation by Sue VanDelinder of El Dorado Disposal. She said higher rates were needed because of a rise in the consumer price index and because of changes in the law requiring recycling compliance by commercial customers. Residential rates will rise 2.65 percent except for those receiving the senior rate. That will remain flat. Commercial rates will rise 9 percent. The new rates will take effect July 1 and were unanimously adopted by the board.