Filippi Says Upland Must Up Its Reserves, Recover Financially & Stay Safe

(September 25) Gino Filippi said he is seeking reelection the Upland City Council “to promote financial stability and protect Upland’s quality of life through a balanced budget that will work to rebuild emergency reserves, promotion of policies designed to both attract and retain businesses and responsible management of our public services in order to ensure dependable public safety.”
Filippi said the major issues facing the city include revamping its financial circumstance, rebuilding reserves, economic development, maintaining public safety, pension reform and addressing the large number of homeless people within city limits.
Financial revitalization can come, Filippi said, by the city adhering to “a financial recovery plan was drafted and presented by (former) City Manager Stephen Dunn. The plan was reviewed and endorsed by a 10 member Fiscal Response Task Force Committee.”
Filippi said, “I am focused on keeping established businesses and attracting new business to grow sales tax revenues within the city. Last year, the BIA (Building Industry Association) recognized the City of Upland’s efforts to improve customer service with an award of excellence. Over the next 12 months Upland will experience continued retail sales growth at Colonies Crossroads, new housing developments along the Foothill corridor and near Upland’s Metrolink Station and historic downtown.”
Filippi, who has been in office since 2010 and has had support from the city’s various employees’ unions, including the Upland Police Officers Association, was less optimistic about the city’s ability to deal effectively with one of its gravest financial challenges, tha is, its unfunded pension liability, the product of what many officials now recognize as overly generous commitments to city employees with regard to their retirement benefits. The pension problem consists not just in the size of the pensions themselves, which in many cases will exceed $100,000 per year to city retirees for the rest of their lives, but the consideration that the employees are not contributing anything toward those pension plans themselves. Rather, the pensions are funded entirely by the city’s taxpayers, who pay the city’s contribution and what years ago was considered to have been the employees’ contributions. At present, the pension costs represent over $6 million of the city’s $39 million annual general fund budget. That cost is growing. For the city to buy its way out of the California Public Employees Retirement System, it would have to pay out over $90 million.
“Unlike the private sector where pension and/or salary schedules can be changed at anytime for work not yet performed (except for new hires not yet under contract) the public job in California is protected by law that can only be changed by a vote of the people at the ballot box,” Filippi asserted. “This is a concern for most all cities. Upland has however made changes in how services are delivered and has entered into new agreements with both employee groups and private firms which have resulted in savings of nearly 3 million dollars over the past 12 months. This is a work in progress and will continue to be perused.”
Filippi said he is committed to “maintaining responsible public safety.” He said, “As in many cities throughout our county, we have experienced increased calls for police, fire/paramedic, and public works services in the midst of state takeaways, budget cuts, and lingering effects of the recent recession. I remain dedicated to ensure responsible management of our public safety services in order to protect our quality of life and promote financial stability. I understand that Upland residents and businesses embrace having their own police and fire/paramedic services.”
Filippi said, “Upland finds itself as one of our County’s leading populations of homeless. Our city has limited resources available to assist those that are truly in need. Local outreach and faith-based organizations are also having difficulties and this coupled with the cutbacks in services and funds from the state and federal government has only made the situation worse. I am concerned with the criminal element that takes advantage of and victimizes defenseless women, children and men that cannot care for, or protect themselves. Personally, I believe we need to focus more on the newly homeless and helping them and I continue to work toward this effort.”
He merits being reelected, Filippi said.
“Since first being elected as the reform candidate to City Council in 2010, I have worked diligently on behalf of residents and businesses making difficult budget and policy decisions while remaining focused on keeping our neighborhoods safe and demanding fiscal responsibility. I not only bring a business approach to City Hall, I understand local government from the vantage point of both a resident and a business owner who has worked extensively with government on private/public projects. Partnerships and outsourcing of some services is good sense for a city the size of Upland.”
Filippi concluded, “Unlike many politicians I am always willing to listen and handle my constituents concerns without delay. I’m easily accessible and work hard to bring timely results. Whatever the case may be, I lead, correct, or advise to resolve problems.”

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