|End of an era.|
SAYING FAREWELL (link):
I began working for cities in 1983, and I held a number of positions, in a number of cities, all in preparation for August 2007, when I was appointed Sierra Madre’s new City Manager. Now nine and a half years have gone by so quickly, and I can’t believe this is my final City Manager’s report.
I truly mean it when I say that Sierra Madre is a special place, and it isn’t easy leaving, but personal family matters need my full attention, so it is time to turn things over to the new City Manager Gabe Engeland. I have been able to spend some time with Gabe and I really think he is fantastic, and he will be a good fit for this wonderful town.
I am really going to miss everyone – the City Council Members, the residents, business owners, volunteers and City staff. One of my many goals, 9.5 years ago, was to hopefully bring some stability to the positon of City Manager, and at that time, I wholeheartedly gave the City Council a 5 year commitment.
But little did I know that 5 years would quickly almost become 10 years! I leave knowing that between the committed City Council, the involved community, and the dedicated City staff, that there aren’t any obstacles that are too great and that can’t be overcome.
I wish everyone and Sierra Madre all the best!
Mod: In case you may have wondered, here is why Sierra Madre (along with a raft of other poorly governed cities) has raised taxes in the recent past, and will ask you for even more in 2018. Trust me, it won't really be because of the Library, Fire Department or Baby Rhyme Time.
Why California cities and counties should act scared by pension payments (Sacramento Bee link): New Sacramento City Manager Howard Chan is putting together his first budget proposal, and you might think with the improving economy, he would be able to hand out cash to this program or that.
Instead, he’s warning department heads not to expect many of their pent-up requests, he’s focused on increasing revenue and cutting expenses, and he’s looking at least five years down the road.
There’s a very good reason: Higher pension costs are on the way because CalPERS lowered its expected investment returns. Sacramento’s additional payments are projected to rise from a manageable $3.2 million in 2018-19 to a frightening $29.4 million in 2022-23.
“It keeps me up at night,” Chan told The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board this week.
If the higher CalPERS contributions aren’t the stuff of nightmares for city and county officials across the state, they should at least be a big worry. The League of California Cities calls the pension issue the biggest obstacle facing every full-service city in the state. It is urging its members to run the numbers and to start taking necessary steps. It says some cities may have to consider hiring freezes and service cuts. Even then, the league warns, some cities might eventually veer dangerously close to bankruptcy.
It’s the legacy of overly generous promises, notably a legislative giveaway to public employee unions by Gov. Gray Davis in 1999, plus the fallout from the December vote by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System board to cut the “discount rate” – its long-term projection of investment returns – from 7.5 percent to 7 percent. It will be phased in, starting in 2018-19.
Mod: As of this typing Sierra Madre's taxpayers are $9 million dollars in the hole to CalPERS. That will now go up even more. The remaining portion of this Op-Ed from the Sacramento Bee can be read by clicking on the link provided at the top of this portion of today's post.