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Pacificans Quash Fire Suppression Assessment Tax, City Eyes Layoffs

A high-ranking city employee may be on the way out.

Pacifica residents voted down a l today with 63 percent against it and 37 percent for it, said City Clerk Kathy O’Connell at 6p.m.

Pacifica Mayor Mary Ann Nihart said that in the face of this vote the city is going to consider laying off employees.

She indicated that the city would take a look at some of the layoffs it was considering last budget year. Documents from last year's budget study sessions show that one of those options may be relinquishing Pacifica City Attorney Cecelia Quick of her duties.

"I have no idea," said City Manager Stephen Rhodes when asked about the layoffs. "But there is probably not much else to do. It depends on how much people think needs to be cut."

If Quick is to lose her job, Pacifica would contract out its legal services at an hourly rate for a projected savings. The city would incur another cost in letting its attorney go, however: her severance package, which pans out to about $120,000. 

More details about what or whom the city will cut in the near future will come at tomorrow night's city council budget study session and at Thursday's Financing City Services Task Force meeting. 

"Everything is on the table" Nihart said. 

Councilman Len Stone saw the writing on the wall when it comes to tax measures in Pacifica, however. 

"I think it's a statement that [Pacificans] don't want any more to come out of their pockets," he said. "We can hopefully start to get active now in developing our local economy and not just rely on assessments and taxes."

Rhodes agreed.

"I guess it's disappointing, but I understand," he said. "People can't afford it or didn't find it [the tax] justified right now. We have our marching orders."

Stay tuned to Pacifica Patch for updates.

Lionel Emde April 14, 2011 at 04:31 AM
The point would seem to be that it wasn't about firefighters at all. Yes, the city is facing reductions in salaries/pensions at the very least, but the premise was to scare the public into voting for the measure. It was dishonest.
Lena Robinson April 14, 2011 at 04:41 AM
Oh -- there will be cuts all around, but the city has some required minimum amount of public safety services it has to provide. Resource center, library, parks and rec, senior services, no mandates for those things. Cut, cut, cut. And when our fire insurance rates go up, we can thank you the no voters and those who did not bother to vote at all.
Eddie Shore April 20, 2011 at 03:11 AM
well like my good friend Carlos Davidson said when he was opposing the last development in the quarry, Pacifica will survive based on its property tax revenue. Paula and Lena, I wish you 2 had shown this much outrage towards City Council for wasting valuable taxpayer money on pet projects and ego stroking the last 8 years. Giving an addict more drugs does not help cure the addiction. At some point he must suffer the pains of withdrawal and hit rock bottom before he can heal.
Zoe April 20, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Eddie, I have been outraged for years, still mad about the quarry not being built up.. but cutting hours to the resource center, parks and rec and senior services is going to hurt so many people.
Eddie Shore April 20, 2011 at 03:25 AM
then the fault lies on city leaders, who should have seen this economic downturn coming, for not preparing. The taxpayers overwhelmingly rejected the sales tax, and now the fire tax, and will reject any tax in the near future until this council gets the hint. Ultimately, it is not the taxpayers who are responsible for keeping the lights on at the resource center, it is city council. They did not do their jobs. But I think Pacifica is a very giving community nonetheless. We should all take a few moments (and $$$) and give directly to the Resource Center. Or volunteer at the senior center. The community has a very good Meals on Wheels program and drivers are needed.

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