|Sierra Madre 2010|
The first screen shot is from the year 2010, which you can also link to directly by clicking here. What this shows is that the City of Sierra Madre employed 276 people that year, and paid all of them combined a total of $5,410,910.00. An additional $992,452.00 was tagged for retirement and health costs. Or a $3,596.00 average in benefit costs per employee.
|Sierra Madre 2012|
We have often heard that the City had been forced to cut to the bone, and did. And once having made such sacrifices, due to both bad economic conditions and the raking off of CRA funds by the State, everything that possibly could be done was done. There is just nothing left to cut without doing significant damage to our community.
So then how do you explain Sierra Madre's salary and benefits picture posted on the State Comptroller's website for 2012 (link)? While it is true that total salaries here dropped by $585,358.00 to $4,824,552.00, benefit and retirement costs soared from $992,452.00 to $2,045,825.00. A huge increase to $8,895.00 per employee, or way more than double that of 2010.
Which means that total yearly employee costs, rather than having been significantly cut, instead actually increased during this period, going from $6,403,662.00 to $6,870,377.00. And rather than a million plus dollars in savings during the two year period as some have claimed, it appears that this money was instead plowed into increased employee benefit and retirement costs.
So what it all means, at least based on what you can see on the State Controller's site, is that this City's often stated demand that our combined utility taxes must remain at the very highest levels in California really is being driven by the need to fund vastly more expensive retirement and benefit costs.
This, rather than the implied dark threats to public safety and the library that we have been hearing so much about from certain hostage taking City Councilmembers, is what is really driving the demand to maintain our high utility taxes.
It could also be having an effect on the water rate increases as well. After all, the less General Fund money that potentially would have to be used to fund Water Department needs (in particular bond debt service), the more is freed up to fund the kinds of retirement and benefit increases described above.
So, go figure.