Shocking Pasadena Budget Highlights:
City employees earn 131% (median) more than residents;
69% of full-time employees earn over $100,000/year;
Estimated $1.5 billion pension debt.
Pasadena is sitting on a ticking time-bomb of catastrophic debt and unsustainable spending and taxation. 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.
FACTS AND SOLUTIONS
1. City Employee Salaries & Benefits 2011 to 2015 (TransparentCalifornia.com)
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
2. The City is in Debt (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research)
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).
3. City Budget Facts 2011 – 2015 (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
4. TEAPAC solutions for the Pasadena municipal budget crisis:
Enroll new employees into 401(k) type retirement plans and get out of the pension model which puts both city employees and taxpayers at risk
Make paying off the existing pension debt a top spending priority
End income inequality between city employees and the residents of Pasadena
Restructure overtime pay policies
Create tax relief for Pasadena residents
5. 2015 Highlights of City Employee Salaries over $90,000 (TransparentCalifornia.com)
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
Sampling of Highest Pay & Benefits 2015
City Manager -
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