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Grand Jury investigates Chico's 'misleading' finances

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jul 08 2013 07:31:08 PM CDT
CHICO, Calif. -

A Butte County Grand Jury report accuses former City of Chico officials of mismanagement.

The report states that past city management provided outdated details regarding the city's budget situation. It also accused the city of not being transparent with Chico’s financial condition.

Councilman Mark Sorensen said the past city administration under former city manager Dave Burkland focused on payrolls, benefits and jobs for the city instead of balancing the budget.

He said that after he discovered this, he called for the Grand Jury to investigate.

Current City Manager Brian Nakamura said that Burkland and his administration’s way of handling the city finances were, in his opinion, too risky. He also pointed out that the city did not have a "safety net" during the recession.

"I think this recession has taught us that today's economy is much different than what it will ever in the future and what we can anticipate, so we are going to adjust accordingly,” said Nakamura.

Nakamura added that under Burkland's administration, the city was using reserve funding to help balance the books and keep the city's programs and jobs, hoping the economy would bounce back.

Although he acknowledges this strategy might have worked in a more stable economy, he said it was not something he would try in a recession.

Nakamura said that his new financial plans are moving the city in right direction and over time, he said these issues will be resolved.