Claremont Insider: It's A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

A reader sent this in concerning the dramatic drop in auto sales in California as a result of the twin fuel and housing market crunches:

Subject: storm heads for claremont....
Hammered by rising fuel prices and declining home prices, sales of new cars and trucks plummeted throughout California in the first quarter, according to data released yesterday.

About 400,000 new cars and trucks were registered between January and March - a 19 percent drop from the same period last year, the California New Car Dealers Association said.

That was the sharpest drop in decades, said Peter Welch, president of the association.

Claremont, which receives about 57% of its sales tax revenue from auto sales, has its income wagon firmly hitched to this falling star. Coupled with the state's budget crisis, the fall in car sales doesn't bode well for Claremont's future. In fact, at the last City Council meeting on April 22nd, Claremont City Manager Jeff Parker acknowledged that the city was looking at a potential $1 million budget shortfall if the state cuts back in some of the ways that are currently being discussed in Sacramento. Consequently, the City is having make contingency plans for a variety of departmental cost-cutting measures.

You can just file this one under "downhill rolling."

Odd that this financial storm wasn't one of Claremont Mayor Ellen Taylor's priorities when she was appointed mayor last month. As the City's website indicates, after being named mayor on March 25th, Taylor (seen at right) gave a shopping list of all the things she hopes to achieve:

Mayor Taylor has several goals that she would like to see the City Council accomplish during her tenure as mayor, including finding more locations for affordable housing complexes; an ordinance on "mansionization;" finding funding and a new location for the police station; adding more lighted sports fields; repairing and enlarging senior centers; acquiring more hillside land; solving the Village parking problem; continuing to work on economic development programs; redeveloping the Peppertree Square shopping center; and, attracting a food market for south Claremont.

Apparently, figuring out how to pay for her "want list" wasn't in Taylor's narrow little mind at all. Well, that job's just gotten a little harder now. Can you say, "Schadenfreude?"