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February 25, 2016

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It would be useful to see a plot of payout obligations for pension and other debt for the next 100 years.

Wow,
I got here from the neighborhood site and this is much worse than I anticipated. I'm concerned by the continued attempts at secrecy.
Tinfow seems to have realized that the city has inadequate oversight and taken full advantage of it. Big raises for herself, featherbedding two new positions for fellow administrators, adding significantly to our structural deficit. Why has our City Council allowed these moves to proceed?

Riptide congratulates Todd Bray for being quoted on the front page of the Pacifica Tribune. Todd's recent Riptide comment about the city's proposed library a block from the ocean was reprinted in the newspaper's coverage of the controversial plan. As our colleague Dan Stegink at Pacifica.city has observed, the proposed library is "underwater."

At what point is all this compensation and pension business recognized as illegal? Man, a decade ago I had total respect for civil servants. Today I think of them as grave robbers in hell, not as bad as Sam Kineson thought of the seven layers of hell, but almost there.

But it has to be a crime at some point.

The news only gets worse. CalPers actuaries are demanding a pension funding increase from the current $3.7 billion to $7.25 billion by 2020. The City of Pacifica must start planning now for the increase in its payments over the next four years.

The existing pension obligation bonds are for a previous period. What time frame was covered by them was never made clear by the previous top staffers Mr. Rhodes and Ms. Ritzma.

A pretty clear table was published by the current city manager in one of her early budgets as to how much each group of bond obligations was for different categories of employees. Money is being borrowed from the sewage treatment plant replacement fund to speed up the paying off of one group of these bonds. The city has no other place to get money to do this, if I understood the reasoning for this correctly.

But the current obligations of $30-something million, revealed by accounting changes mandated by GASB, raises new questions.

A. What time period is this obligation for?
B. How will we pay for it?
C. How will this impact the already minimal services provided by the City of Pacifica?

I found it interesting that the city hastily paid the yearly stipend to the Resource Center before the budget season begins. It was done with ERAF funds, which the city manager has previously declared to be "one-time only" types of funds. That's also how the Esplanade apartment building was razed by the city.

How exactly are we, as a community, going to survive as an independent municipality into the future? This sort of budget picture looks unsustainable.

We've gotten lots of emails on this subject, and agree that the most important question went unasked and unanswered, so we've asked Lorenzo Hines this question and will post it as soon as we hear back:

"How much do we pay in interest on our Pension Obligation Bonds?"

---------------

01:14:18
"If there's any member of the public who wants or has questions about these finances, they're welcome to contact me at any point...whatever we can do to make sure our citizenry has the information and is as educated as they can be about the issues, is the ultimate goal."
-- Assistant City Manager Lorenzo Hines

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEiux4czEMQ#t=1h13m52s

Didn't the city have a bond floated to shore up the empty pension system?

This is much worse than I even thought.

"The city silently incurred and repositioned $36.5M in new CalPERS pension liabilities sometime in the past 600 days without informing the
public."

See "How a Little Accounting and a Lot of Bad Investment Showed $36.5M in Overnight New Pension Obligations" on http://www.pacifica.city/

Tinfow told us she has a solid professional track record of rectifying public budgets for transparency, effectiveness, and accuracy.

Does she?

Or more important, will Tinfow stop secret spending, and make Pacifica fiscals fully compliant with best public accounting practices, and put a competetent CPA in charge of the Finance Department?

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