Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Numbers To Make You Smile

Today we have a bunch of numbers that may make you smile if you're concerned about the fiscal well-being of Costa Mesa.

In a press release today, HERE, The City announced that the fiscal year which ended June 30, 2011 the city had a $2.5 million surplus - thirteen times greater than the original estimate earlier this year.  You can download the entire Consolidated Annual Financial Report (CAFR) HERE - all 163 pages of it - for all the details.  This, of course, is wonderful news and it leads to all kinds of speculation about just how that money might be spent.

For example, one grumpy old fella around town thinks it should be used to tear down "slums" - apartment buildings where mostly Latinos live - and build parks in their place.  That seems like an "investment" that serves only those among us who view the Latinos living in those apartments as something to be scraped off your shoe.

Others - perhaps some developer-friendly councilmen, for example - may wish to buy what they've described as "problem motels" and sell them at a loss to developer buddies.  You'll recall that now-mayor Jim Righeimer suggested that very thing a few months ago.

Or, maybe there might be those who will take a look at the diminished city staff and say, "Hey, maybe we should do something for them!"  After all, there have been no pay raises for city staffers since 2008.  In fact, many have experienced a negative cash flow because they contributed more to their retirement and took enforced furlough days.  Maybe we should look at ways to reward them for their diligence and loyalty in the face of  turmoil and hostility over the past couple years.

Of course, there will be some of you who will leap off your couches and scream something like, "They don't deserve a pay raise!  Just look at their retirement!"  That, of course is irrelevant, but you'll scream it all the same.  In fact, most of the city employee units have negotiated changes and a state law that went into effect January 1st - AB 340 - reduced the rest.  Go ahead - scream anyhow, if it will make you feel better.

And, while we're talking about it, CalPERS announced that they had the best return on their investments - 13% - since 2006!  You can read about it in a Los Angeles Times article, HERE.

The City Council will hold a special study session on Tuesday, January 29. 2013, at which the condition of our pension liability will be discussed.  It will be interesting to see how these "good numbers" will be massaged and manipulated to meet certain political goals.

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Anonymous spend spend spend said...

the 13 % calpers is great news, especially since the fiscal year 2012 was .14, yes, the decimal is in the right place. Of course the 13% is not a done deal until the fiscal year ends but lookin' good. I say buy a problem motel and get rid of it with the monies or maybe help get rid of a quarter billion dollar unfunded pension liability? Pay raise premature, who knows how long this trend continues. but a pay raise continues forever. maybe a bonus instead. sk?

1/15/2013 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

It could have been as high as $3.7 million. But we taxpayers gave that to Jones Day and Jones Mayer, so the City could get it's clock cleaned in court. Oh, wait... Planning Commissioner Fitzpatrick believes that's "a strategic investment."

1/15/2013 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ann O'Connell said...

I like your idea of giving a raise to our city workers. Is there a single reader out there who has been loyal to an employer for 4 years and not had a raise? (even a small one?) Good thinking, Geoff!

1/15/2013 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous jones esq. said...

thank you!we will give epperson at least this much too.

1/15/2013 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous sk said...

spend spend spend - I have never known of government employees receiving bonuses (unless it was shenanigans like City of Bell). Are you recommending bonuses for government employees or are you referring to your pals that pulled some shenanigans to get bonuses?

1/15/2013 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous spend spend spend said...

sk, i am referring to my pals. we are all crooks, frauds, anti dentites, etc. getting our back pockets stuffed from developers, giving our contracts to friends, arranging bonus monies, etc. how did you guess? you must hang around with crooks!

1/16/2013 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous fiscally prudent said...

How about we build up the reserves again... instead of spending money for the sake of spending it. It was the reserves that saved city government during this last recession- not the council.

1/16/2013 01:37:00 PM  

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