Is your city ready for California's next recession?
High Risk Cities
The California State Auditor Elaine Howle recently released its analysis of fiscal health, or lack thereof of 471 California cities, listing the 18 "high risk" cities facing fiscal challenges, and Santa Paula is number 22.
The website provides an interactive map showing how cities compared in their financial health. The website allows users to adjust the data to display results by certain factors in isolation.
According to the state auditor, Santa Paula was at "high risk" for lack of adequate general fund reserves, future pension costs and revenues not meeting expectations, the report said.
Howle said 337 out of 471 cities have not saved enough money to pay for future retiree health benefits. Nearly half of the cities are not saving enough money to pay pension benefits in five years.
She also said she was alarmed to see some cities borrowing money in the form of Pension Obligation Bonds to pay their unfunded pension debt. "Right now, we're in strong economic times, but everybody is expecting that recession to hit," Howle said. "So hopefully this information will trigger some discussions and decision-making that better prepare cities to be able to respond to that recession, without cutting services."
Ventura County cities mostly ranked moderately well on a new interactive website posted by the California State Auditor that compares the fiscal health of cities based on 10 financial indicators.
The California State Auditor's Office selected a set of 10 indicators that enabled them to assess each city's ability to pay its bills in both the short and long term. Specifically, the indicators measure each city's cash position or liquidity, debt burden, financial reserves, revenue trends, and ability to pay for employee retirement benefits.
With the exception of Santa Paula, Ventura County cities appeared further down the list of 471 cities, with better financial ratings of "low" or "moderate" risk levels.
22 Santa Paula (at risk);
100 Oxnard (moderate risk)
104 Ventura (moderate risk);
169 Simi Valley (moderate risk);
256 Ojai (low risk)
262 Moorpark (low risk)
263 Fillmore (low risk)
340 Port Hueneme (low risk);
425 Thousand Oaks (low risk);
452 Camarillo (low risk);
Article courtesy of the California Taxpayers Association.
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