|When I first saw that graph, it just seemed screwy, so I went to the City of Costa Mesa web site to see the back-up documentation. Surprisingly, there was none. I made a visit to Costa Mesa City Hall to see what was in the agenda packet. "Only the Powerpoint", the City Clerk told me.
I persevered with requests under the Public Records Act, talked to current and former Council members in Orange County, got comparative figures from other cities, and remained mystified.
Of course it made sense that pension costs had increased since 2000. Back then, Costa Mesa had superfunded pensions and didn't even have to make the employer's share of the contribution. Lately, pension rates have increased, but Costa Mesa has also cut over a hundred employees, including police and fire.
In October 2010, Costa Mesa employees agreed to pay an additional $3.6 million a year in pension costs that are just now going into effect. That's why the expenditures for 2011-2012 decrease even while there was a marked increase in CalPERS rates used in the City's projections.
I've emailed back and forth with the new $3,000 a week communications director, Bill Lobdell, who promises to get back to me next week.
So finally, I pulled out the October 2010 actuarial valuation reports that I had received from the City of Costa Mesa, and made my own projections and graph. Here's what it looks like over a six year period. The numbers through 2011-2012 come from the City's report. The next two years are my projection.
Not so scary, eh?
There's one huge difference. The City's projection includes a notation that says, "includes employee reimbursement from current contracts only". I am assuming that the employees of the City of Costa Mesa will continue to pay the same share of the pension contribution that they are paying now.
Really, could anyone believe that Costa Mesa's radical Republican City Council is going to negotiate new contracts that involve picking up a bigger share of the pensions.?
Following are my assumptions. I am challenging the City of Costa Mesa to show theirs.
*2012-2013 projection based on October 2010 CalPERS reports that projects increase in city's share of pension costs using actual 2009-10 investment returns.from
**2013-2014 projection based on October 2010 CalPERS report where CalPERS projects five different rates based on FY 2010-2011 investment returns, which are quite good so far this year.
FY 2013-14 projection is based on blended rate between 3rd scenario with 7.75% return (47th percentile) and 4th scenario with 16% return (75th percentile)for this fiscal year.
(Appendix D-1 of each report.)
Assumption of compensation subject to pension for each pool (estimates) used to calculate increase in City's share of pension costs
For FY 2011-2012 with no changes for 2012-13, 2013-14
Sworn fire 13 million
Sworn police 18 million
Everyone else 20 million