Our City Council likes to brag how we are spending millions of dollars on parkland services. But, nearly 90% of the parkland money comes from grants by the county, state or federal government. Thus, only 10% comes from the city’s General Fund.
With over 63% of the city’s budget going for just the police and fire union employees for their salaries and pension benefits plus about 84% of our pension obligations being unfunded, our council will continue to count on using grant money to fund essential needed city services.
Glendale is a member of the California Public Retirement System and the taxpayers’ guarantee 7.5% returns on the CalPERS investments. Then, when the retirement system fails to meet its goals, Glendale citizens are on the hook for the lost investments. In 2012, CalPERS only made 1% return on their investments and Glendale taxpayers were on the hook for the 6.5% differences of approximately $30 million. In 2011, Glendale taxpayers had to make up over $26 million.
Firefighters and police officers, after 30 years of service at age 50 or 55, can receive 90% of their final year’s salary as their annual pension for life.
With the current financial crisis looming, I believe we should join the cities of La Cañada Flintridge and Malibu and, on a trial basis, have Los Angeles County perform our fire and police services to save money. Furthermore, the county pension plan does not put the taxpayers on the hook for any investment losses.
Editor's Note: The writer is a candidate in the June 3 special election to fill one seat on the Glendale City Council.