Three months ago, forecasts of doom and gloom at Puyallup City Hall were rampant with expectations of layoffs for city employees. At the low end, 30 were expected to be axed, up to 90 by early 2011.
The city has two pots of money, the general fund and the public works fund. Most salaries come out of the general fund. At that time, the Public Works fund was so healthy, there was a plan to transfer and train underemployed staff for new jobs inside Public Works.
Then the financial calculations were changed through the modification of the overhead algorithm by the city finance director. All of a sudden there was no need for layoffs or furloughs. The city manager received accolades and a permanent position. Only now, Public Works is flat broke. Maintenance and infrastructure upgrades are canceled. The streets, water lines and sewers will suffer.
The city manager keeps claiming that Public Works monies have not been transferred. Maybe not in terminology, but were in effect. How else do you explain how the financial status of the two funds was completely reversed in 90 days?
Puyallup utility customers and taxpayers will now have to live with substandard roads and utilities so that city hall can maintain full employment and superior health benefits for its staff. City Hall is convinced that the public is too stupid to figure this out. They are not.