FFFF was just sent a few pages from the latest budget proposals, which the Fullerton City Council will soon vote on. The true costs of Fullerton’s pension debt are coming to bear, as the proposals call for the elimination for firefighters, police corporals, maintenance workers and security guard services.
These reductions will be necessary in order to offset significant increases in CalPERS pension payments for existing employees. Most of the budget is allocated to staffing, so city staff claims there are very few non-staffing cuts to be made.
From here, it will only get worse. CalPERS will continue to lower its discount rate, triggering higher bills for cities across the state. We are looking at many more reductions in services and increases in taxes and fees over the next few years.
Will our council have the guts to pull the trigger and start making severe cuts now? Or will they postpone action until insolvency becomes inevitable?
There are some hidden costs to government that are hidden in plain sight. One of these costs is the amount we pay in settlements for various lawsuits.
Some settlements are easy to figure out. We know why the City of Fullerton paid the family of Kelly Thomas close to 6 Million dollars. When somebody goes after the city for work related issues, however, it is much less clear what we’re paying for or why we’re paying.
What we do know is how much we’ve paid. Here’s the total we’ve paid from 2010-2016 in Worker’s Compensation Settlements.
Owing to privacy laws we can’t know who got what and why so be certain that there are shenanigans going on with some of these payouts.
That’s the thing about government. No matter how much you think it’s costing you, it’s always costing you and your children more.
The Case of the Disappearing/Reappearing Balanced Budget
Many of you may recall that during my campaign for Fullerton City Council I wrote an Open Letter to Jennifer Fitzgerald. I’d like to revisit the issue of Mrs. Fitzgerald’s oft-repeated myth of a balanced budget.
On her website as well as on campaign literature she made the point that our budget is balanced. I offer as evidence a screen-grab from her campaign website from 22 October 2016;
I won’t re-litigate the whole letter here but suffice it to say I wasn’t happy about her Public Relations spin on our overspending by at least 43 Million Dollars during her tenure.
I’m bringing this all up due to agenda item #2 from last night’s Council Meeting. The council voted 5-0 to receive and file the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending 30 June 2016. Inside the CAFR was one little nugget really stood out to me when reading the report.