Why Can’t Fullerton City Government Be Administered Like Any Other Well-Run Non-Profit Organization? By Barry Levinson


images (18)Why Can’t Fullerton City Government Be Administered Like Any

Other Well-Run Non-Profit Organization? By Barry Levinson


The rule of thumb with non-profit organizations, such as charities is that 60 to 90% of the money goes directly to its mission and only 10 to 40% goes to actually running the non-profit, i.e. administrative costs. Now we come to another non-profit institution, the City of Fullerton.For many years the city has been spending approximately 80% for salaries and benefits for its employees (excluding their multimillion dollar unfunded liabilities for pensions and retiree health care), with only 20% left to deal with the tremendous issues of poor roads, sewers, water mains, etc. Even the city of Detroit when it filed for bankruptcy of few years ago was devoting a smaller percentage for salaries and benefits then does Fullerton. The city government in the short run has limited ability to increase its revenue streams, i.e. taxes and fees. But in the long run they have a very good way to increase revenue streams by approving more and more development especially high- density multi-story development.

One mandated fee example is the following: The city collects for use by the Parks and Recreation Department approximately 11,700 dollars for every new unit built. They receive the same fee if the unit is a 250 square foot studio apartment or a 10,000 square foot house. You can readily see how lucrative high-density units are for our city. It would greatly help them finance their current and future salaries and benefits rather than have to succumb to the limits of revenue streams coming into an already developed city such as Fullerton.

It is for that reason that I believe the city pushes so hard to convince the public that high density is good for them as well. But the problem is that it is not good for the vast majority of people already making Fullerton their home. New high-density development adds traffic, pollution and more demand for water. If a charity that spends 80% on themselves and only 20% for the beneficiaries is considered a very poorly run charity or worse, should we not question the same percentages for our own not for profit City of Fullerton.

I report, you decide.

  1. #1 by Barry Levinson on June 1, 2015 - 6:44 pm

    The city council frequently brings up the topic of how the city can help make available more affordable housing units in the city.

    One way to help accomplish that would be for the city to keep its taxes and fees for development at a minimum. Yet almost $12,000 is added for just one city fee for even the smallest of units.

    Isn’t that so typical of government these day to pontificate about what needs to be done and then they take action that actually makes the condition that much worse? But then again it really is not about the public, but rather how the city bureaucrats can take care of themselves.

    You got to love them!

    I report, you decide.

  2. #2 by Roger on June 2, 2015 - 1:31 pm

    Thank you for this reminder Mr. Levinson. Sadly this goes on all over the country, and in some cases, much worse than in Fullerton. I hope you will seek a seat on the council in 2016. Fullerton could use leaders like yourself.

  3. #3 by Anonymous on August 20, 2015 - 1:59 pm

    Yes, as many of us that love our town but have neglected the political part of Fullerton. As I read your article it is so important to get the news out to everyone before we completely lose our town.

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