Atwater has paid a heavy price for poor stewardship. The cracks in its financial structure began showing in 2009 when Finance Director Stan Feathers reported to Mayor Joan Faul that without council action the general fund’s surplus would evaporate by 2013. It did and today it is a negative $1.4 million.
Then the council approved huge pay raises and jacked-up retirement benefits. The city’s chief administrator retired after eight years at $61,500 a year. The most egregious action of all was granting retirement benefits with as little as five years of employment.
Mayor Faul has been at the city helm for 12 years, during which time she has voted for every tax and fee increase presented – every one! She puts fiscal blame on previous city managers, even though the law requires the mayor to provide oversight of the city manager.
It’s time to consider Jim Price, a longtime Atwater advocate, for mayor. He has a comprehensive plan that will return solvency to the city. The time for new leadership in Atwater is long overdue.
Gary Wilmot, Atwater