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7 questions with Phil Katzakian

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Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:29 am, Thu Oct 21, 2010.

Q: If the city budget worsens, where would you cut? Please be specific.

A: If the general fund decreased by X percent, that same percentage has been applied across the board, and I would assume the same will work again. In other words, we relied on the department heads to work within their budget. At this point in the economic downturn, I think we have worked our way through the largest cuts. With the Lodi Energy Center and the Reynolds Ranch projects coming on line in the next two fiscal years, my hope is that we have seen the last of a shrinking general fund revenue stream.

Q: As a member of the council, how would you work effectively with other members whose perspectives conflict with your own?

A: Different perspectives are good, they make you look at an issue from a viewpoint other than your own. I like that aspect of our current council. In the end, you make the best decision based on what you learned from your homework and gleaned from other council members. ... And then you vote. You have to have respect for your fellow council members; after all, you will be working with them for at least the next four years.

Q: Many cities are looking into outsourcing or privatizing some operations. What could be outsourced for the city of Lodi?

A: We currently outsource some landscape maintenance. We could outsource more, including park maintenance and pool maintenance, if necessary.

Q: What is your vision in 10 years and, as a council member, how will you work to achieve it?

A: I see Lodi continuing to develop its persona as a wine destination; that is, to develop as a destination and further develop its wine-based industry. This would increase TOT and sales tax revenue.

I would like to see the city develop and implement an acceptable redevelopment agency. This is an important tool that would allow us to attract businesses to Lodi and address some of our aging infrastructure.

I see the benefit of the new Lodi Energy Center and a western transmission line to bolster our EUD and insure competitive electric rates for our residents and businesses. I see the benefit of our new water treatment facility, moving Lodi towards surface water and off groundwater.

As a council member, I’m looking forward to the completion of these projects and any future projects that ensure a bright future for Lodi. Let’s move forward, not backward.

Q: Outline specifically how you would bring new jobs to Lodi. If part of your plan is to hire an economic development director, specify yardsticks to ensure the position is cost-effective.

A: I think an economic development team may be a better fit in this economy. That would include a city council member and the city manager along with department heads from EUD, Building and Public Works. (We need) partnership and working relations with Lodi Chamber, San Joaquin Partnership and various other agencies that are already in the business of bringing business to the region. And, of course, an RDA.

Q: How can city payroll and pension costs be controlled?

A: That is a very complex issue. There is a need for immediate relief through measures that could include participation of employee contribution to pension plans and benefit plans, and possibly a two-tier system for new hires which would be of benefit in the future. It’s widely accepted that the current plan needs to change in order to be sustainable.

I’m willing to look at all the options in the near future. It’s an issue that affects all cities, and I’m sure there will be lots of options available for us to consider.

Q: The city’s electric utility is now recovering from a financial crisis created by burdensome debt. How can a nearmeltdown in this operation be avoided in the future?

A: I’m satisfied that our EUD is on the right track, that proof is in our current rating from the rating agencies and a continued building of our reserves. The problem stemmed from large open positions. We now have closed those positions in advance of a current fiscal year and have in place an ECA. We also have a risk oversight committee that consists of the city manager, finance director, city attorney and the EUD director.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:24 pm on Tue, Oct 26, 2010.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Mayor Katzakian, when are you going to take some responsibility to clean up the ground contamination beneath your closed down Lodi Printing building and property? Thanks for sicking us Lodi ratepayers with your share of the $50 million cleanup. You were let off the hook by Hansen, Johnson, manager King, Beckman and Hitchcock,IMO, and rumor goes you are still laughing at Lodians you consider underlings for being so gullible as to vote for you last time. You can pat yourself on the back in the mirror all day long, but most in Lodi know you don't resemble the honor your other family members and forebears commanded. You, mayor, are definitely not what you want everyone to think you are. These last 4 years of council border on criminal and are completely unethical and this corrupted town needs to be right there on the list of towns along with Bell, CA, requiring a complete auditing of the books and all the under $5000 vouchers that are part of the fleecing of Lodi by the council consisting of Mayor Katzakian, Hansen, Bob Johnson, Ms. Hitchcock and Ms. Mounce. You all work together and none of you has the gumption to spill the beans. Like I ask all greedy people, when is too much (money), never enough? GREED!

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:47 pm on Fri, Oct 22, 2010.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Mr. Morgan, whoever you may be, is that why mayor Katzakian's business is now closed and the property is for sale? It's also contaminated and maybe the mayor should be cleaning it up himself instead of the Lodi taxpayers getting stuck for that $50 million tab. Hasn't the mayor become a real estate agent now that his own business is closed and broke.

  • Josh Morgan posted at 1:58 pm on Fri, Oct 22, 2010.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 542

    Keep up the good work Phil. We don't need council members who like to hear themselves talk. We need individuals who have run their own businesses and can't spend more money than they make.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:39 am on Thu, Oct 21, 2010.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Mr. Katzakian, having never met you, and don't personally care to, IMO you are the worst council representative I've seen on Lodi city council since I came here in 1987. You give the apppearance of being very uninformed and you must be so current on every issue that you don't have to ask any questions. Always in agreement with Hansen and Johnson and never deviating from their same 2 votes, ever, is it possible that you could be swayed by their influence? Weren't those part of the makers of the decision that let you personally off the hook on the ground contamination lawsuit? Things just look very unethical to me and judging by your answers to the Sentinel, there's nothing there to indicate that if you are re-elected, it would only be because the eastside votes weren't tabulated correctly. Lodi needs council representative such as J Johnson, Jay Patel and Tim Reed to change those existing good old boy rules that dominate this council. I'm watching archives from the meeting last night and I'm thoroughly both yourself and Mr. Hansen need to retire.


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