My Turn: Do your research on Measure J
TRUCKEE, Calif. – I am responding to Ms. Lomanto’s letter regarding Truckee Donner Recreation & Parks District (TDRPD) finances published in the Sierra Sun and Moonshine Ink. TDRPD has had to field many questions from voters. Accordingly, some have asked for a published clarification.I have the duty of chairing the District Finance Committee, and have done so for many years – including the hard work on the new Community Center. As your elected official, my top two serious priorities are:1) Representing the Public Fairly2) Safeguarding and Protecting Public Tax DollarsMs. Lomanto states the following arguments regarding the TDRPD finances and Measure J:1) Not Good Financial Management2) Worrisome reduction in cash via the 2011 Certified Public Accounting (CPA) Audit3) A problematic 2010 CPA Audit4) A statement that the mission of TDRPD should not be economic in nature5) A statement about a lack of transparency and accountabilityTo wit, the public should know these facts:Where and when has there ever been a Recreation District project where the public has benefited with a $7 million surplus after a full project financing and construction cycle? Research shows none in the entire State of California. TDRPD executed hundreds of decisions to get to this level of success. Truly the Board and recreation staff had the public’s best interest at heart over the last six years. In 2007, Standard & Poor’s (an international and well recognized financial rating organization) gave the District a “AAA-” rating prior to the financing of the community center. In 2011, Standard & Poor’s updated their analytical report on TDRPD debt and finances. The result: an upgrade to an “A” rating, one of highest ever for a Recreation District. Even better are the 2004 and now 2010 State of California recognitions for “Outstanding Recreation & Park District.” For the record, we have a fantastic financial management track record and are well recognized in the State.The 2011 Certified Public Accounting audit indicated a reduction in operational cash flow. To accurately communicate the loss, one requires an understanding of government expenditures and the use of reserves. To put it simply, when you spend savings your income statement goes negative. TDRPD will regenerate reserves when tax assessments (growth) start trending upward. Given current flattening of assessments, conservative financial forecasting, strong cash reserves, and Proposition 13 tax increases, the TDRPD is financially sound and has the ability to operate two new facilities for well over a decade to come with no foreseeable impact to public services.The 2010 Certified Public Accounting audit is old news. State law requires TDRPD to have annual CPA audits. We consider recommendations seriously and act to correct problems immediately. Deficiencies noted in the 2010 audit were corrected for both current and future fiscal years. I am not sure why this is even an issue.Ms. Lomanto is correct in stating the mission of TDRPD is not an economic one. However, the statement is backwards in terms of analysis. We studied and worked hard to design the projects first, and then researched the economic benefit. The result was a surprising $2.2 million additional annual infusion into the District and Truckee proper after both facilities open. The economic infusion will create jobs, additional programming, and will touch favorably on the lives of all generations living within the District.Last is the issue of transparency and accountability. Clearly financials and historical decisions are available to everyone by law and it is a simple process obtain. All District meetings are public, (including Finance Committee meetings) and over the life of these projects many additional public meetings have been added to get public input. I must say it is unfortunate that Ms. Lomanto apparently has never taken the time to attend any of our Financial Committee meetings or has even asked details about operational expenditures. So I pose this question: What exactly is not transparent or accountable?In closing be sure to read your voter Sample Ballot pamphlet. Within are statements regarding our Districts financial health. The choice is yours this November 6th and it is very important to cast an informed vote. Please do your research and understand TDRPD is financially strong and able to construct and carry both an Aquatic Center and Performing Arts Center. Kevin C. Murphy is a Truckee, TDRDP Board Member and Finance Committee Chair.
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