Shocking Pasadena Budget Highlights: Estimated $1.5 billion pension debt; City employees earn 131% (median) more than residents; 69% of full-time employees earn over $100,000/year. Pasadena is sitting on a ticking time-bomb of catastrophic debt and unsustainable spending and taxation. These are the most critical issues in this upcoming election.
We are currently preparing for a 2018 statewide initiative for California pension reform which will put all future public employees into 401(k) retirement plans and into the social security system.
A recent review of the Pasadena City budget, salaries and pension debt (see facts and solutions below) tell us all we need to know about the City's municipal crisis.
There are two candidates, incumbent Andy Wilson and newcomer Phil Hosp, who are in a run-off election in District 7 slated for April 18th.
Visit their websites and address your questions directly to them over the coming days to determine for yourselves which candidate is going to be most capable of taking on these dire issues.
We've heard good words that the new mayor, Terry Tornek, is making an effort to address the fiscal crisis facing Pasadena. Stay tuned as we learn more about this over the coming year. Let's take this opportunity to work with our City Council and get our finances in order.
FACTS AND SOLUTIONS
I. City Employee Salaries & Benefits 2011 to 2015
Median pay for full-time city employees has risen 12% from $82,439 to $91,910.
Median pay and benefits for full-time city employees has risen 13% from
$110,530 to $124,736.
Meanwhile in 2015, full-time city employees earned 131% more than full-time employed residents:
City employees: $124,736
Pasadena residents: $53,916
Total city overtime pay has risen 38% since 2011:
2011 - $14.6 million
2012 - $14.9 million
2013 - $15.6 million
2014 - $18.7 million
2015 - $20.1 million
II. The City is in Debt
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (link)
Under the California pension system, taxpayers are obligated to continue paying city employees up to 90% of their salaries for the rest of their lives after they retire. Consequently, the City has accumulated a catastrophic pension debt.
As of 2015:
CalPERS (the California pension system) says Pasadena taxpayers owe $377.4 million. This is bad enough, however . . . .
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research estimates the debt to actually be closer to $1.5 billion (and growing).
III. City Budget Facts 2011 - 2015 According to the Adopted Budgets
as reported in the Adopted Budgets on City website
Year after year, tax revenues increase steadily while the City continues to increase total spending, give lavish raises to city employees and to accrue more and more pension debt. Yet so often the City claims to be facing "budget shortfalls" and reaches deeper and deeper into the pockets of taxpayers. The City does not have a revenue problem, it has an spending problem.
Over the last ten years since 2006:
General Fund revenues are up 23% from $182.7 million to $224.2 million
General Fund expenditures are up 14% from $193.2 million to $219.8 million
Total revenues are up 22% from $583.6 million to $713.4 million
Total spending is up 6%
from $651.2 million to $690.5 million
There have been large budget surpluses since 2011:
2011 - $50.2 million
2012 - $57 million
2013 - $40.9 million
2014 - $11.4 million
2015 - $69 million
2016 - $22.9 million
IV. 2015 Highlights of City Employee Salaries over $90,000
Sampling of Highest Pay & Benefits 2015
Out of 1,455 full-time city employees, 69% make over $100,000 a year:
782 city employees earned between $100,000 and $200,000
221 city employees earned between $200,000 and $300,000
7 city employees earned over $300,000
City Manager - $394,271
City Attorney - $319,590
Assistant City Manager I - $317,670
Assistant City Manager II - $306,441
Chief Information Officer - $274,532
City Engineer - $269,612
Director of Planning & Development - $264,554
Director of Transportation - $264,225
Director of Library and Information Services - $259,794
Assistant General Manager Water & Power - $253,934
Engineering Manager - $253,501
Mod: We will have the numbers for Sierra Madre and Arcadia soon.