On Thursday, the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released a report that Watsonville is mismanaging its money, pointing out that it’s in bad shape compared to other similar size cities.
Yet the City of Watsonville itself doesn’t entirely agree, pointing out in a press release Thursday that San Francisco-based Harvey M. Rose and Associates auditing firm mischaracterized the city’s practices and underestimated its strength for the resources it does have available.
Watsonville currently does not have the money to update its accounting software or hire more staffers, said Mayor Lowell Hurst.
“We’re trying to do the best we can with what we’ve got,” said Hurst told Watsonville Patch.
Harvey M. Rose made the mistake of comparing the city’s original budget the the final budget amounts, pointed out City Manager Carlos Palacios. The City General Fund has actually been under budget for three years, he said.
Furthermore, said Hurst, the auditing agency compared Watsonville to wealthier medium size cities like Cathedral or Hanford -- not accurately putting the city in context.
“We’re actually in medium financial stability,” said Hurst, pointing out that Watsonville made an effort not to cut city financial services or compromise public safety. “We’re trying to get by and be stewards in the community.”
The City of Watsonville will be hosting a public session to discuss the report on January 22 at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. Harvey M. Rose and the Santa Cruz Grand Jury will be present.