Put Lake Forest First - Part 9 (October Spending)

How much of our money did the city spend in town last month?

A few months ago I published the first in a series “Put Lake Forest First” that demonstrated that the City spent 95% or more of our money outside the City. The first article covered spending in July 2012 and that was followed a few weeks later by articles about spending in August and September. The results –

• July – 5%
• August – 2%
• September – 4%

So it makes sense that we revisit City spending. In October the City of Lake Forest spent $2,470,277.20. Here’s a list of the top recipients (excluding utilities) for the month of October, along with their city.

• GMC Engineering, $388,543.57, Tustin
• Synoptek,  $149,065.17  Boise, Idaho
• Land Forms Construction, $121,415.07, Laguna Niguel
• Spectrum Care,  105,964.86 LAKE FOREST
• CREF Pacific Vista, $103,500.81, Goleta
• Marina Landscape, $49,090.15, Anaheim
• Griffin Structures, $31,440.00, Laguna Beach
• RBF Consulting, $30,457.00, Irvine
• Athens Services, $25,709.88, City of Industry
• The PM Group, $20,816.33, LAKE FOREST
• Shelterclean, $12,755.00, New York
• Anderson Penna, $11,040.00, Phoenix
• Penco Engineering, $11,162.67, Irvine

Note that Lake Forest had 2 businesses in the list of top recipients, with a total of $105,964.86

Here are the other Lake Forest businesses and how much they were paid in October -

• Ameci Pizza, $182.47
• Bagels and Brew, $1498.57
• Din Ho, $560.00
• El Conejito $703.06
• Elite Automotive, $1926.88
• Kids Imagine Entertainment, $650
• Lake Forest Floral Design, $48.49
• Monogram Magic $203.53
• Outback Steakhouse $6211.63
• Peppinos $422.13
• Saddleback Signs, $134.69
• Smart Stop Storage, $2388.41
• South Coast Trophy, $495.53
• Spectrum Awards, $1750.94
• Studio Printing $3458.49
• Team One Janitorial $4915.00
• US Too Gymnastics $571.50
• Valvoline Oil Change, $110.78

Of the total $2,470,277.20 spent by the city of Lake Forest in October 2012, $131,769.02 went to businesses or people in Lake Forest – 5%. Of that amount, 82% went to a single company (Spectrum Care).

This 5% figure seems to be consistent in all the studies I’ve done in recent years. Often it is less than 5% but I can’t recall a time it was over 5%.

As I’ve said before, there is no excuse for such a small percentage of our money being spent on our people and businesses. While we all accept that utility bills and personnel expenses go to companies in other cities, and that some of our major contractors do not have local addresses, there are still millions of dollars being spent on office supplies, maintenance supplies and workers, instructor fees, entertainment expenses, etc. on people and businesses outside our city when there exist people and businesses within our city who could provide a comparable service at a comparable price.

Hopefully the new City Council will elect to “Put Lake Forest First” and put in place a system that will funnel a greater percent of our money to our people and businesses. I'm especially hopeful that newbie Adam Nick will lead the charge in this direction. On his website Adam says -

"Establish a “Lake Forest Comes First” program whereby when all other things equal, the business that is located in Lake Forest is awarded the contract assuming a qualified contractor is available in the city and they have submitted a proposal for consideration."

Whether we put it first or it comes first, let's get started.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Andromeda November 19, 2012 at 10:25 PM
If I were a betting man I would double down that nothing basically changes under the new Council leadership. Money keeps flowing outside Lake Forest and the issues we had this election will be the same next election in 2 years. Everyone had high hopes for Voights. He flopped. Why would the other 2 be any different? I never listen to what they say. I always watch what they do. Sorry, I've lived too long and seen too much to be hopeful.
Jim Gardner November 20, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Hi Andromeda, I share your cynicism. When I first ran for City Council in 2008 I had a list of things that needed to be changed. Two years later the list was identical. Two years after that, it was almost identical. The only thing that changed was that after over a decaded the Alton Extension was finally completed. And I agree about Voigts. He has been a big disappointment, and since I encouraged people to vote for him, I have been the recipient of dozens of e-mails chastizing me for that recommendation. But we shouldn't despair. It's a new council and soon a new year. Let's expect them to do great things. And if they don't let's hold them accountable and get ready for the next election. Bear in mind that in 2008 it looked like the annointed council members were impervious to defeat. Then Dixon fell and now Rudolph. So the winds of change are in the air. Let's hope they blow fair.
Andromeda November 20, 2012 at 03:12 AM
It's nice that after what you've been through that you can keep a semi-positive attitude about politics in general. I've been disappointed so many time by political hacks that I just assume that they are either lying to me or floating empty promises. That way I'm not disappointed when it's confirmed later. And if by some miracle they actually perform as promised I'm pleasantly surprised. It works for me. Yes, the old guard is falling. However if you replace Frankenstein with Dracula what progress have you really made? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I do have hope in that you will be keeping us informed, re: city government, with your little column. Now that's progress! I am very grateful that The Patch has given you that opportunity. And I am grateful to you for providing the public service. Perhaps if there's some transparency in real time they will be hesitant to pull any fast ones on us. That's my hope.


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