You need to ask yourself this. Do you have a $37,815 per year health care plan? Anybody set you up with one of those lately? Sierra Madre's water superintendent does, and as far as I can tell (believe me, I have checked), that individual has the single highest costing health care plan in the state. Maybe we should ask him for autographs. He truly is one of a kind.
But our health plan rich water superintendent is not that far ahead of some of his fellow city employees. All of which goes to show, if you give City Hall the money, they will find ways to spend it. And in the case of employee health benefit plans, the sky is apparently the limit. Despite all of their cries of poverty and the need for more tax money.
Here is a chart that was prepared for us by Transparent California.com. The health plan amounts highlighted are among the highest in California.
Transparent California also put together the following graphic to highlight just how out of line Sierra Madre is on the costs of the health plans City Hall buys. Even Los Angeles, which is in the throes of one of the worst financial crises in a history notable for such things, is far behind our little town. We are today in a class all of our own.
In Chapter 2 of his epic length narrative discussions on our Measure UUT imbroglio, Councilmember John Capoccia goes on to make this following claim:
If the current UUT is allowed to sunset, there’s no other meaningful source of revenue to replace what’s lost. We’ll have to do one of the following: Cut 13% across the board, make selective cuts that total $1,000,000 annually, or outsource one or more departments.
With our employee health care plans as immense and out of line with what other cities are paying as they are, it would seem to me that there are still plenty of places to cut without in any way harming public safety services. Just bringing the city's health plan costs into line with what other cities are paying would save a hundred thousand dollars a year, and probably more.
What Councilmember Capoccia is saying about "across the board cuts" might not be exactly true. There apparently is a protected class of spending at City Hall that is not to be touched, or even discussed, no matter how long your articles on the topic might be.
The widely held perception is that Measure UUT is all about continuing to raise the money necessary to fund the pensions and expensive benefit packages that our municipal employee unions are demanding. Including the Police Officers Association. I agree with that.
And Capoccia, along with three other members of the City Council, want to give these people whatever they want, and with little effective consideration of the costs to the taxpayers. I assume because that is being viewed there as the easier option.
At least it has been the easier option up until now. The people who actually pay for this mess get their say on April 8th. Chances are now looking pretty good that they will "re-defeat" the 10% UUT, and for the second time in two years.
It is always easier to spend other peoples' money. At least until they decide they've had enough and take it away.