Yes on the Charter for Auburn!

By: Steve Cavolt, guest columnist
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The Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution of the United States believed in local control. The closer civil government is to the people, the more responsive and accountable it is likely to be. And that is the intent of the Auburn charter. We the people, the citizens of Auburn will realize more control over our own destiny, save money, add accountability to control local municipal affairs and generally promote Auburn first by becoming a charter city!
Unfortunately, the State of California has become so dysfunctional that our politicians in their infinite wisdom have created a situation where California ranks dead last in the nation in “business friendliness” and the foreseeable future looks to continue with the same dysfunction. The powers that be at the state capital have created for 2011–12, expenditures that will exceed revenues by $22 billion and leave the state with a year–end deficit of over $28 billion according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. And at the same time Sacramento continues to chase businesses out of the state which would otherwise generate taxes to help offset the deficit. A total lack of “common sense” runs rampant at the state capital, which is one of the reasons Auburn must vote for local control. We as citizens must use our “common sense” and do what is best to protect our town from the coming invasion of the money grabbers in Sacramento.
Given that the state is broke; this dysfunctional Legislature will now try to seize control of revenues from cities and counties. They will continue to impose ill-conceived mandates on Auburn that will adversely impact public safety, increase sewer rates, housing costs, and especially threaten volunteer-led community projects. The League of California Cities lists 10 major bills that threaten local control for cities. Local governments including Auburn will be faced with more restrictions and less choice as this impaired Legislature gropes for new ways to fix the problems they have created.
That is why it is imperative that we the people, citizens of Auburn take control of our own destiny by becoming a charter city. The California Constitution allows a general-law city like Auburn to, with a majority vote of its residents, convert to a charter city and thereby shift power to local city officials and “not” be subject to the many stringent and costly mandates required of a general law city.
To date, with more converting each election cycle; 120 cities in California including Folsom, Roseville, Grass Valley, Truckee, Sacramento, Marysville, Napa, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles have become charter cities. Why, simple; protection from reckless spending, mismanagement, dysfunction and the coming “money” grab by the state.
Did you know that mandates from Sacramento politicians increase your sewer bill? The Auburn charter will save ratepayers at least $2 million over the next six years. How, by allowing the city to contract for sewer repairs with local contractors paying local wages versus the state imposed grossly high “prevailing wage” rates. And notice I said “local” contractors; a charter city would exempt Auburn from the “prevailing wage” state imposed mandate and allow local contractors to submit bids and win city contracts which will provide “local” jobs! (Note:?The state supreme court is currently reviewing prevailing wage law).
The charter will require a performance-based budget to ensure more transparency and accountability on how Auburn tax dollars are spent and the level of services that are provided by the city. The salary of the mayor and council members shall continue to be set pursuant to the law applicable to the general law cities and neither shall receive a pension or unemployment insurance. The charter city language specifically states that this charter shall not be interpreted as giving the city greater authority to raise taxes or fees or to create new taxes or fees beyond our current powers, that of a general law city.
Another huge item is that of “Volunteerism”; according to state law, on Jan. 1, 2017, the city will be prohibited from using volunteers unless the volunteers are paid the prevailing wage! How absolutely ludicrous is that. Auburn is a titan when it comes to volunteers; community events, sprucing up the town, police department volunteers, supporting events like the Amgen Bike Tour, protecting residents and firefighters from a catastrophic fire with Project Canyon Safe, again the only way to protect these volunteer projects is for Auburn to become a charter city!
Bottom line; as a resident of Auburn, if you want to maximize local control, gain more accountability, save money, eliminate reckless and costly mandates from the state, secure protection from the coming state “money” grab, spawn new local jobs, safeguard volunteerism, and predominantly promote “Think Auburn First” there’s only one solution: Vote Yes on the charter for Auburn!
Steve Cavolt is a committee member for Auburn Advocates for Local Control.


To learn more
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