SLO City needs to address its financial shortfalls

May 3, 2017

Matt Kokkonen

OPINION by MATT KOKKONEN

As one of the successful plaintiffs on the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of The City of San Luis Obispo’s rental inspection ordinance, I am pleased with the outcome of our lawsuit at this time.

Unfortunately, the city had promised and spent itself into a financial straitjacket. The city will come back again to try to squeeze more money out of property owners and renters to cover its irresponsible pension costs, as shown by the current unfunded pension liability of $150 million.

Having designed and administered pension plans, I can say that the city’s pension and medical insurance benefits are vastly greater than those offered by local businesses. The city benefits should mirror those of the community it serves, not exceed them so greatly.After all, the city residents pay the benefits.

Isn’t it ironic that the taxpayers cannot afford such benefits for themselves, partly because they pay for the city’s rich employee benefits?

The City management has hired itself into a sinking fiscal spiral which must stop. The solutions are to initiate lay-offs with a serious hiring freeze and to meaningfully redesign the pension plan for future enrollees.”

Matt Kokkonen is a financial advisor and long-time SLO resident.


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shelworth

Why bother when you can just raise taxes?


Myself

By George, they found money to work on the Bob Jones trail,that will help matters.


kayaknut

Mr. Kokkonen you seem to be under the impression public employees care about the fact that their pension system is broke and will destroy the taxpayer, sorry to break it to you, they don’t care and have no intention of fixing their broken system.


Rambunctious

All governments Federal State and local have been trying to do what a cat does in a litter box with their pension costs since 2008. We all lost our retirement and our savings as well as losses in the collapsing market in 2008. We had to adjust and learn to live on less, we had to rob peter to pay paul. We have had to go into debt just to pay our way but God forbid the public employees have to take less or redraw their contracts.

They city leaders will just keep pushing this down the road until they’ve completely drained our bank accounts in order to fill theirs.


only-when-i-do-this

I don’t live on the French Riviera because I CAN’T AFFORD IT.


There’s a message there – no one gave you the right to live wherever you want to for free or at a “discount”.


So where do people get the idea that this is an affordable place to live ? I realise this isn’t Southern France – some say it’s better.


But there is a common train of thought around this city that, basically says, if you’re breathing, you ought to be able to afford this place. you DESERVE to live here.


Nope. That would be kind of like a huge nope; you will be poor, and only get poorer. You will usher in the new “poor is the new rich” meme, and fail.


City offficials – entitled, adventurous, and grabbing at all our money for unicorn rainbow enhancements.


If you could only figure out how to offset the big sucking sound of diablo as it goes offline.


Paso_citizen

I completely agree that our city, county, and state governments have lost all sense of being financially sound in how they spend our money.


Unfortunately, it will take several thousand (maybe a few million) voters to come together and force a change. Whatever else you may think about Trump – his main reason for getting elected was to change the way things are done. People want a change in what gets done and how it gets done – but a well-entrenched bureaucracy is very hard to overcome.


Pigs will fly before SLO makes meaningful, measurable changes in the way things are done and how our tax dollars are spent.


DocT

Mr. Kokkonen,


What you are saying makes perfect sense. I think we all understand that government is wasteful, spending is profligate and fiscal responsibility is virtually unknown in government at all levels.


However, you, me and everyone reading this knows that no responsible or corrective actions will be forthcoming from our government, whether we speak at the federal, state or local level.


As a people, we have consented to being fleeced, policed, intimidated, regulated, fined and taxed. Nothing will change until city/county/state/federal employees have their paychecks bounce. And theirs will bounce last….after all of ours.


If only we could learn the lessons of history! But alas, far too many of us were indoctrinated in federally approved schools with a federal/state mandated curriculum. It goes without saying that we’ve learned to ignore reality, salute the flag, and pretend everything is going to be OK.


It’s pretty easy to predict what will happen and it’s not good.


rukidding

Absolutely right. Internally these people really answer to nobody. The city managers are king and queen and run these cities with virtually no oversight. Their hiring agreements state that they run the city and elected officials are not to interfere with the daily operations. These mangers only answer to the city council members, most who have no business experience or idea of how to run a profitable business. After all they are politicians and do not want to ever bear bad news, it could cost a vote. Most only know what is told to them and because of the Brown Act the city managers have the ability to be great manipulators.

Is it ethical for city managers to negotiate pay increases and benefits? Who would want to have unhappy employees so you can guess what happens. Usually at the same time the city manager will get the same pay increase as the employee as it is an agreement in their contract. But most don’t know that so big bonuses are also awarded by these councils.

If you think they are doing a good job just check the cities that have these large unfunded benefits and ask why they have and keep on abusing their credit card that we will have to pay for. Matt is right, change is in order.


fat chance

Amen Brother!!!