La Cañada Taxpayers Are Winning
Sierra Madre has a fantastic opportunity to lead the way for other cities facing similar financial crises. Not all cities are in as bad shape as Sierra Madre. For example, nearby La Cañada-Flintridge models a thriving community living within its means. Rather than talk bankruptcy and disincorporation, why doesn’t the Sierra Madre City Council consider spending cuts?
According to 2016 payroll data from Transparent California, Sierra Madre employs three full-time Fire Captains (w/ annual pay and benefits of $123K, $233K & $150K) and a full-time Fire Chief (at $160K). Why does a city of approximately 11,000 residents need three full-time Fire Captains?
A few years back, the LA County Sheriff’s Department offered Sierra Madre the opportunity to contract its police services with increased security and patrol hours at a projected annual savings in excess of $700,000. Unfortunately, the City declined the offer.
With double the population, La Cañada contracts with LA County Sheriff and, as a result, has half the payroll and enjoys a lower crime rate. Higher payroll means faster growing pension debt of which La Cañada has relatively little. By not repealing the UUT, residents will only enable the City’s profligacy and further aggravate the debt problem. We strongly recommend an immediate intervention.
|Sierra Madre||La Cañada|
|# Full Time Employees1||59||25|
|Total City Employee Compensation1||$6.6 million||$3.3 million|
|Employee Compensation Cost Per Resident2||$598||$160|
|CalPERS Estimate of Total Pension Debt2||$10.7 million||$2.2 million|
|Crime Rate / Index3||119.4||90.2|