This is a controversial topic in town, with many here believing it is an example of how Sierra Madre's "full service government" has become an onerous burden to taxpayers dwelling in a small burgh of just about 11,000 living souls.
Unfortunately, this item is near the bottom of a very long list of things. One that starts with the earnest speeches of all the Rose Parade Princesses, and culminates with what is likely to be a near endless City Council rumination on how best to explain to skeptical residents the third UUT increase ballot initiative in three elections. The first two having failed at the polls.
Ironically, the proposed hike in Sierra Madre's utility taxes is in large part dictated by the need to fund CalPERS obligations. So they are not completely unrelated. Here is where this item now stands in Tuesday evening's agenda line up.
It appears to me that Mayor Capoccia might have decided to bury this one. I doubt the City Council will actually get to it, and even if they do there won't be very many people left to watch. Which is unfortunate. The City Manager will hustle her way through it as she often tends to do with unwanted late items, and then it will be received and filed.
That said, I thought I should cut to the chase. The staff report for this thing is a little long and mostly filled with helpful examples of how City Hall did various things to try and save the city money. Like any employees, they do try and please the boss. But honestly, who really cares that much?
So here is the summary.
Then, once you've worked your way through six pages of some fairly hard slogging, you will find the numbers you are actually looking for. Not that city staff's efforts to hold down CalPERS costs, or take full advantage of PEPRA, do not make for exciting reading.
Here is Sierra Madre's yearly CalPERS nut.
If you can explain why the city's budgeted CalPERS costs jumped by nearly three hundred thousand big ones this fiscal year, do share it with us here. That 21% increase, which is nothing to be sneezed at, is not actually detailed very much in this staff report.
My guess is it's because CalPERS's optimistic past investment earnings projections didn't actually pan out (link), and the difference now needs to be peeled bleeding from the hides of the taxpayers.
By the way, $1,413,000 divided by 11,000 people is $128 per lucky and lovely Sierra Madre resident. On the Josh Moran Tax Scale that's 32 lattes' for every man, woman, child and infant. If you go to Starbucks. However, if you go to Bean Town the latte' count jumps to just under 43. And quite honestly, their lattes' are consistently better.
The link to the city's CalPERS agenda report is found here.