When I took office in December 2016, our City owed more money to debt and pensions than it had ever owed in our City’s history.
Our City owed $222.6 Million toward the Civic Center debt. And our pension funds’ status (the difference between what we actually had versus what we owed) were only 60.8% for our safety employees and 67.9% for our non-safety employees.
I am proud to have advocated for an approach that is projected to save our City approximately $45 Million in interest by consistently paying down our liabilities in fiscally sound and principled ways. We are being proactive, not reactive, and our residents are seeing the benefits.
These increases in funded status are particularly impressive in a time when our neighboring cities have seen their funded statuses decrease in the most recent valuations. For example, Costa Mesa’s fire, police, and non-safety unfunded liabilities increased by $26+ Million while Huntington Beach’s police/fire and non-safety unfunded liabilities increased by $34+ Million.
Newport Beach’s actions have been done without a single tax increase. We instead use our fiscally conservative budgeting measures to realize consistent budget surpluses and then use a policy that I co-wrote to use half of every surplus to pay down long-term liabilities.
We have a long way to go, but the progress is evident and needs to continue.