Pasadena may need to eliminate jobs, cut services, mayor says during State of the City address (Pasadena Star News link): At his second annual State of the City address, Mayor Terry Tornek warned that the city may have make cuts to its staff of 2,200 employees and reduce programs if the city does not increase revenues within the next year.
Expenses are expected to surpass revenues by $3.6 million when the city’s 2018 fiscal year starts this summer.
“Since more than 70 percent of our budget is spent on personnel and since we must pay our employees a competitive wage, the inevitable conclusion is that we cannot support the existing payroll of 2,200 employees indefinitely,” Tornek said to a crowded gymnasium Wednesday. “If we are to maintain high quality services, personnel reductions will mean eliminating some programs altogether.”
The city has already implemented the “obvious savings,” so future discussions about cuts are not likely to be popular, he said.
“My primary message to you tonight is that this is not an acceptable outcome,” he said.
Attorney Dale Gronemeier asked Tornek whether the city is looking for cuts in the Pasadena Police Department, which he has argued is overstaffed compared to other agencies around the country. Other councilmen have called for increases to police staffing in light of recent shootings in Pasadena.
“The answer is absolutely yes,” Tornek said, adding there are studies ongoing to determine appropriate staffing levels. “All of us together have to sort of figure out how we prioritize and how we work our way through (the deficit).”
City Manager Steve Mermell said an annual report given to the audience said that 2017 will have challenges, particularly because of rising employee pension costs.
Mod: You can read the rest of this article by clicking on the link provided above. As you probably already know, a lot of this is being caused by the huge amount of CalPERS debt Pasadena, like most cities in this state, are being forced to carry. According to Stanford's California Pension Tracker (link), here is what Pasadena's colossal pension debt load is looking like these days.
Mod: Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. That is $1.545 billion dollars in Pasadena "Market Pension Debt." In a city of approximately 137,000 souls, that comes out to around $11,000 per resident, including the itty bitty babies. Would it even be possible raise taxes enough to cover all of that? Would you want to? By way of comparison, Sierra Madre's pension debt is at the $40,000,000 mark, or about $3,600 per resident. Good luck with that as well.