Sacramento City Hall is on the hook for an additional $5 million in contributions to the California Public Employees Retirement System in the upcoming fiscal year, and 2008 investment losses absorbed by the pension giant are largely to blame. The city already pumps $48 million into the retirement system.
That extra $5 million is a big number, especially when it's coming out of the city's general fund budget. To put it bluntly, $5 million pays for roughly 50 cops or about two-thirds of the city's parks maintenance budget.
At City Hall, the CalPERS contributions are undergoing some added scrutiny. The city's auditor, Jorge Oseguera, told a City Council sub-committee this morning that his office is examining the city's contributions into CalPERS and that the audit is nearing completion. A report is scheduled to be released in April.
City residents aren't the only people who should be keeping track of this trend. Local governments around the state are about to encounter the same situation, as noted in an article last April by my colleague Phillip Reese.
Another story in The Bee this week showed that contributions to CalPERS from the city of Davis will rise $1.4 million this year.
How worried are you about the rising impact of pensions on cities and other local governments? What would you do to reverse the rising costs?