MOORLACH UPDATE — Trick or Treat? — October 26, 2018

It’s time to give you another scary, Halloween Orange County municipality listing, this time ranking them by their pension funding status.

Trick or treat?

We’ve been able to obtain the pension plan actuarial reports from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) for 54 cities (CITY), school districts (DIST), special districts (DIST) and agencies (AGCY or JPA) within the County of Orange.

How did your city, school district, water district or sanitary district do?

Trick or treat?

If you own real estate within the agencies numbered 1 to 42, then it’s located in above-average municipalities. Those numbering from 43 to 54 are below average and are showing serious red flags.

It would be helpful if the municipalities were in the 1 to 17 range, as they are funded at 80 percent or better, the supposed industry standard. But, let’s be clear, those under 100 percent warrant concern and a proactive response by their elected boards. Regretfully, not one agency is over-funded (100 percent or higher).

If your home is in a scary place, then you and your neighbors need to get more involved in the management of your agencies. Pay attention. Or one day you will be facing a rock in your bag.

Trick or treat?

I know that a few of the bottom municipalities, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa are trying to be proactive. Each has a Finance Committee addressing pension concerns. I recently met with Costa Mesa’s committee. I participated in a pension forum recently in the Huntington Beach Council Chambers (see MOORLACH UPDATE — David Kiff — July 13, 2018). And I met with the Newport Beach Committee last year. They are all working on this as diligently as they can (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Addressing Pension Mess — June 24, 2017). This is a good thing, but guess who will be holding a bag full of rocks?

Huntington Beach has already reduced staffing by 15 percent, but their annual CalPERS contribution has gone up more than 80 percent. Costa Mesa has reduced its staffing from 611 authorized full time employees in 2011, to 479 today. Yet, this city has the highest paid firefighters in Orange County.

Trick or Treat?

Go to https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-pension-gamble/ if you have time for a horror story. Here is how this just aired one-hour PBS television

show, Frontline, discussing Kentucky, but mentioning California, is billed:

FRONTLINE investigates the role of state governments and Wall Street in driving America’s public pensions into a multi-trillion-dollar hole. Marcela Gaviria, Martin Smith, and Nick Verbitsky go inside the volatile fight over pensions playing out in Kentucky, and examine the broader consequences for teachers, police, firefighters and other public employees everywhere.

A quick summary? Public employee unions were in the board majority of the public employees’ retirement system for Kentucky. Sound familiar? See how that worked out for their retired members.

Trick or treat?

1 Midway City Sanitary District DIST 99%
2 Laguna Woods CITY 96%
3 Costa Mesa Sanitary District DIST 96%
4 Lake Forest CITY 93%
5 Buena Park Library District DIST 88%
6 South Coast Water District DIST 87%
7 Orange County Transportation Authority DIST 85%
8 Orange County Vector Control District DIST 84%
9 Orange County Health Authority DIST 83%
10 Aliso Viejo CITY 82%
11 Regional Center of Orange County AGCY 82%
12 Greater Anaheim Spl Edn Local Plan Area JPA 82%
13 East Orange County Water District DIST 81%
14 Laguna Hills CITY 81%
15 City of Dana Point CITY 81%
16 Municipal Water District of OC DIST 81%
17 Santa Ana Unified School District DIST 80%
18 Rancho Santa Margarita CITY 79%
19 Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority DIST 79%
20 Laguna Niguel CITY 78%
21 Laguna Beach County Water District DIST 77%
22 Yorba Linda Water District DIST 77%
23 Mission Viejo CITY 76%
24 Moulton-Niguel Water District DIST 76%
25 Irvine CITY 76%
26 Villa Park CITY 76%
27 Mesa Water District DIST 76%
28 Irvine Ranch Water District DIST 76%
29 La Palma CITY 75%
30 Tustin CITY 75%
31 San Clemente CITY 75%
32 Cypress CITY 74%
33 South OC Wastewater Authority DIST 74%
34 Trabuco Canyon Water District DIST 73%
35 Los Alamitos CITY 73%
36 Seal Beach CITY 73%
37 Stanton CITY 72%
38 Fountain Valley CITY 72%
39 Placentia CITY 72%
40 La Habra CITY 71%
41 Anaheim CITY 71%
42 Buena Park CITY 71%
43 Westminster CITY 70%
44 Orange CITY 70%
45 Yorba Linda CITY 70%
46 Fullerton CITY 69%
47 Santa Ana CITY 69%
48 Santa Margarita Water District DIST 69%
49 Brea CITY 68%
50 Rancho Santiago CC Assoc’d Students DIST 68%
51 Huntington Beach CITY 68%
52 Garden Grove CITY 67%
53 Newport Beach CITY 66%
54 Costa Mesa CITY 62%
AVERAGE 70%

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