Budget

How do you plan to fund the city's long-term pension and health benefits liability, which currently stands at $500 million? How serious is the impact of this liability to the City’s ability to provide services and amenities to residents?

First, this is a state-wide problem and is called a crisis because no one has good answers. Second, current and past Council members have told me that you don't begin to understand the City budget until you have been on Council for two years.

The most important thing that Council can do is not "kick the problem down the road" or hope that the pension fund (CalPERS) will see significant improvement in returns on their investments. We need to take prudent efforts to reduce liability. However, it cannot be the City's top priority: While these pensions and health benefits represent a contract with former employees, the City also has important obligations to its residents.

Reiterating from previous questions: The role of City Council is to oversee the work of professionals, not to be the experts on a wide range of highly complex and technical issues.

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