As City Council adopts budget…. Some final WC Library numbers: $1.6 million under budget …

At the City Council meeting, Assistant Walnut Creek City Manager Lorie Tinfow reported some final budget numbers on the library as it prepares for its July 17 opening. They include:

–The library will come it at a total cost of $39.9 million

–The original budget, set in January 2007, was $46 million

–Last year, the council reduced the budget to $41.5 million

–The Walnut Creek Library Foundation has raised more than $5 million towards the project.

–The two libraries will be open a total of 56 hours a week.

Oh, and the City Council adopted its 2010-12 budget 4-1, with council member Gary Skrel casting the no vote.

23 thoughts on “As City Council adopts budget…. Some final WC Library numbers: $1.6 million under budget …

  1. Skrel is a fool. He cast a token no vote on the library but did nothing to stop the project publicly. He rants and raves about spending but caved to every special interest groups demanding their money. Are you telling me the tough talking councilman can't stand up to the trolly and band lobbies? And SM maybe you can look into the amount the library will suck out of city coffers each year in operating costs.


  2. Walnut Creek residents are the losers under this budget. Every luxury item the city has been funding, subsidizing, supplementing, augmenting, contributing to and otherwise paying for over the last ten years is still largely being funded by our increasingly dwindling tax dollars. I don't use these services but I understand they are nice to have in good times. We are not in good times. What I do use is the streets I drive on, the storm drains that prevent my home from flooding, the cops that protect my family and property, the lights that light my street and the clean and well maintained sidewalks I walk on. According to the budget all these things will take a big hit. We need new blood and some actual leadership on this council. They are too cozy with the business associations and the community groups that live off the city teet.


  3. Other than 'postponing' the installation of the solar electric system, what other big ticket items that were budgeted in the original project estimate, have been cut or deferred so that city hall can claim that the 'damn library' will be completed under budget?
    By not financing the project correctly through a bond issue, this project will cost us much more in quality of life issues due to declining revenues in the general fund due to the bad economy in general and the drain in funds to support the library project in particular.


  4. I celebrate our new library. We are in good times. Some currently struggle, but there are plenty of us who are doing well that can pay more. I don't listen to the “Wendy Whiners”. They're always around when money's involved.


  5. The Trolley and Band Lobbies? Yeah, they're tough. You wouldn't want to be hit on the head with a flute… Thanks for nothing City Council!


  6. If Silva and Rainey would have just said no or “half” to the new library, we wouldn't be in this position. Rainey says, “…from perhaps assessing fees on downtown bars to asking residents to approve a sales tax.” Are you dreaming?


  7. I agree with most of these comments. There will always be a few library cheerleaders (mainly those with a vested interest in the project) but most folks think the council's priorities are wrong. Hopefully the city manager finally retiring and maybe some new faces on the council we can get the city back on track and back to basics.


  8. Anon 1:05 –

    A few library cheerleaders??

    I would like to suggest that the -MAJORITY- of Walnut Creek residents support the new library. I base this on the fact that the failed bond measure from 2005 received over 60 percent of the votes. It may have failed the 2/3 threshold needed to pass bonds but I'd say 60% indicates very strong support for the library.


  9. I agree. Show me what a community spends it's money on and I'll show you what that community values. The majority in Walnut Creek value police, fire, schools and recreation. Some in our community value stocks and bonds.


  10. 11:23 PM~~~

    Boo Hoo on the missed 2/3's vote of 2005. That was then, this is now. YOU LOST so stop using this argument as an okay for the City Council to then, against the recommendation of the City Manager, forge ahead with their overpriced plans for a huge library.

    The Council (4 to 1 vote) skirted the will of the people by firing the City Manager and proceeding with deficit spending on a very major project even as the signs of a weakening economy were present.

    As the monolithstic library project has progressed and the City has tanked financially, I dare you to poll the citizens of Walnut Creek as to how they feel about this outrageous expense. I highly doubt that the results would should anywhere near a 60% approval from our residents.

    The library building, even though it came in under the padded budject, will forever stand as a symbol of foolish spending by foolish council members of the people's money.

    Hope you don't wreck a tire on yout way to the library in a pothole or God forbid need a police officer quickly for a non-life threatening happening as both are possible due to money being poured into said library.

    My hope is that everyone has learned a lesson about intelligent and responsible spending of public funds from this whole mess.


  11. Anon 8:25 –

    Please provide reference to your assertion that the council “skirted the will of the people.”

    You may very well be correct that the majority of residents today would not have supported the library project given the current economic climate. However, this is just speculation. I do not know of any polling data that would suggest this. If you know of any, please provide.

    What is known is that in 2005, 60% of the people supported the library. The council made their decision to proceed according to the “will of the people”, as expressed in the poll.

    I am not debating whether the library project was wise or not. I am challenging your assertion that the majority of residents were against the library and that the council acted with disregard to the majority's wishes.


  12. I am not 8:25, but my take on this is that NOT ENOUGH people voted yes, we want to pay for the library. There is a reason why the bar is set so high.

    Having the vote fail and then the council doing it anyway is basically saying, “we don't care that the REQUIRED percentage of people didn't want it, we're going to do it anyway, because we know better than all of you people that we purport to represent.”


  13. I have not participated in this discussion up to now. I believe the concept of majority rule is valid. If we required 2/3 approval before ever doing anything, virtually nothing would ever get done.

    There were candidates that supporterd or opposed the library in the last two City Council elections. The supporters won handily. Subsequently a majority of the City Council decided to build the library that the majority wanted. This has been an exercise in representative government.


  14. Houston……

    Are you serious in your take on the last city council elections? The reason that Rainey and Silva won is NOT their support of the new library. It is in fact that the development community/Chamber group gave them the dollars necessary to run real campaigns.

    Library opponents Bronson and Henik had much less money to spend on their campaigns because they were not the “chosen” candidates.

    When people talk about a majority vote what they really mean is a majority of those voting as opposed to a majority of voters.

    When it comes to passage of bond issues,($$$$$$$$) I for one, am very happy that there is a 2/3 requirement of those voting.


  15. Anon 11:13 —

    You provide a very good point in that the 2/3 threshold was not met in 2005. As a result bonds could not be issued to finance the library. However, that does not preclude the citizens of Walnut Creek from seeking to finance the library in another manner.

    Politicians are motivated by whatever is expedient to their own survival. The fact is the citizens of Walnut Creek chose to proceed with the library. If the citizens had risen up and protested in significant numbers, the council would have backtracked and revised the project to meet the citizen's approval.

    We saw an example of this with Neiman Marcus version 1. The public protested and the council and developers backtracked and revised the project until it satisfied the public. Despite whatever amounts of money or considerations the developers would have advanced to the council members, they were not foolish enough to continue pushing forward with so much discontent among their constituents.

    That was not the case with the library. The library opposition, while very vocal and passionate in their cause, represented a minority view among Walnut Creek voters at that time. Thus, the council did not feel pressure to back away from their plan.


  16. Residents were also told the city would be getting a state grant to help fund the library like Lafayette did. Despite applying three times the city was rejected and residents were mislead. Cindy Silva's consulting firm helped craft this phony message while on the payrolls of the Walnut Creek Library Foundation. She now tries desperately to change the subject (as have her friends posting here***cough cough *Bob Britten* cough cough). Very few people without a vested interest in the library are dumb enough to say it was a good idea. Please stop trying to convince us otherwise. It's insulting.


  17. Anon 5:43 pm – So it's only when there is clear cut evidence that the council will look bad if they do something (change their general plans to accommodate a developer) that they are willing to listen ot the public?

    Seems like they had plenty of reason to listen to the public on the library issue, but chose not to.

    That reminds me, I just received my Nutshell, with the flyer about the library opening, suggesting nearby places to park. Why can't I park at the library? Or is that reserved for Silva and friends?


  18. Looking forward to the opening! 13% of the cost paid for by a non-profit.

    Let's get measure Q extended past July and let's include people like me who live outside the city limits (unincorporated WC).

    Conspiracy theorists, those of you who believe the parking garage was built as reserved spaces for the city council when they work, dine (or course for free, bribery by bar owners) and shop (they'll get free clothes at NM)should find all sorts of books with stories of similar conspiracy talk in the new “damn library”!

    Don't forget the one about Obama causing the oil spill so he can pass the “sweeping climate legislation” called cap and trade!

    See you at the library!


  19. Oh 10:31 AM how I love a conspiracy!

    However, there is no theory here, as the Council Members already have free parking spaces provided at the City Hall parking lot. That is a perk that they should have.

    The other things you mentioned are pure crap made up by you in an attempt to put down those who are not big cheerleaders for everything that Council does. You failed.

    Enjoy the library that you didn't help to pay for.


  20. Anon 9:57 —

    “So it's only when there is clear cut evidence that the council will look bad if they do something (change their general plans to accommodate a developer) that they are willing to listen ot the public?”

    And this comes as a surprise to you?

    Politicians will do whatever is necessary for their own survival..lie, cheat, deceit, backroom deals, and just about anything. I thought this is obvious to everyone.

    The council obviously felt they would not survive their next election (if not recalled before then) had they stayed the course with their initial Neiman plans. The objections from the residents were just too hot for them to withstand and they had to back down.

    Clearly, that was not the case with the library.


  21. Skrel puts on his fiscal conservative show every time the budget rolls around. He plays the “bad guy” so the Council looks like they are making a difficult decision.

    It's just political theatre.


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