Salaries not excessive
Greg Prada is again complaining about an EID budget detail — despite EID having cut the costs in question by $846,000 this year. His citation of $127,133 in salary per employee in the 2013 budget is correct, but he neglects to note the cost savings. Also, EID has held cost-of-living increases to only 2 percent while inflation is running around 3 percent.
EID salaries and benefits are not excessive. The Placer County Water Agency, the most directly comparable water supplier in our area, surfaces salaries and benefits combined (not separated), so an apples-to-apples comparison from the 2012 budgets of each agency is this: EID has an average cost of $123,313 for salaries plus benefits per employee; PCWA averages $124,628 per employee.
For local comparison, take $210,753 in average salary plus benefits. That’s from the 2012-2013 El Dorado Hills Fire Department budget. Research by recent challengers for the fire board seats listed comparisons with 12 other fire departments, showing EDH cost per employee ranging from 17 percent to 51 percent higher than the other agencies. One point that continues to hang in my consciousness is our Fire Department’s advocacy to defeat El Dorado Hills incorporation.
Because incorporation failed in 2005, we sacrificed at least one key revenue stream dedicated to cities. In 2006 our road fund would have begun receiving at least $1.2 million per year from California gasoline sales tax, probably rising quickly to nearly $2 million per year as gas prices increased. We also lost new sales tax revenue now generated in El Dorado Hills, probably in the range of $1 million to $3 million; California’s revenue neutrality law dedicates it to the county; any future city stands to receive taxes only from new development that occurs after incorporation.
We’re still dependent on El Dorado County, and the county is still cash-poor. My neighborhood’s streets are now 25 years old, have never been resurfaced and needed resurfacing starting around 10 to 15 years ago. We have traffic LOS F on the Green Valley corridor. That’s Level Of Service F, traffic demand in excess of road capacity. No capacity expansion on Green Valley is provided in county DOT’s Capital Improvement Plan until “Future,” an undefined future year with a project start no earlier than 2022.
Our fire Department continues to be the steward of about 5 percent of our property taxes that other fire departments don’t receive. In an ideal world our fire department would find a way to redirect part of this to road maintenance and road system capacity improvement in El Dorado Hills. In practice it may be difficult to find a legal way to do it, but I’d like to see EDH Fire try to do exactly that. All of us have real-world needs to have the fire department and other past opponents of city incorporation take responsibility for the costs of their advocacy in 2005.
El Dorado Hills