Marin County Budget Update - FY 2012-13
On June 5, 2012, the Board of Supervisors accepted the Proposed Budget as an interim spending plan for the new fiscal year beginning on July 1. The Board held public hearings beginning on Monday June 18, 2012 and adopted the Final FY 2012-13 County Budget after additional hearings on June 20, 2012.
Slow growth and a stalled economy remain a challenge as we try to balance the need to provide services to our county residents, while remaining fiscally sound. Government efficiency and long-term solutions have been our focus, and I am proud of the following budget highlights:
- We have continued to look long-term, with a budget strategy focused on a two year budget solution
- We are encouraging innovation with one-time investments and trying to limit layoffs
- We have substantially improved our structural balance over the past few years (we are facing a less than 1 percent operating budget gap as opposed to the 5 percent gaps of recent years)
This is our 4th year of long-term restructuring, including:
- reducing ongoing expenses by more than $30 million and eliminating more than 200 positions (11% of our workforce, with roughly 85 % by attrition)
- creating a new, lower cost retiree health plan for new employees since 2008 and limiting growth in existing retiree health plans
- negotiating a new Miscellaneous Retirement tier of 2% at 61.25 year old for most bargaining groups
- negotiating lower retirement tiers with safety employees
- setting aside and budgeting for unfunded retiree health liabilities above "pay as you go"
- establishing a retiree health trust that will close a projected FY 2012-13 budget shortfall
The FY 2012-13 Budget-in-Brief is now available and provides a comprehensive overview of the Final Budget. If you want to dig into the details, visit Proposed Budget County of Marin.
In our challenging economic environment, everyone is concerned about how local government is spending taxpayer money. One of my most important responsibilities as your representative is to ensure our county is financially sound.
The California Legislature recently approved the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA). Although the act does not include all of the reforms Governor Brown had proposed (reforms that the Marin County Board of Supervisors supported) PEPRA is a step in the right direction for long-term pension sustainability.
Read the Marin County Administrator’s September 11, 2012 informational report on State Pension Reform.
On the local level, the County of Marin has been planning ahead for many years to address our pension challenges. Some of the key actions we have taken include:
- Negotiating with our unions two new, lower-cost tiers to our retirement structure, capping pension COLAs to 2 percent annually, and instituting three-year salary averaging to calculate final benefits.
- Creating a retiree health trust that will close our FY2012-13 projected budget shortfall.
- Studying additional measures, such as creating lower-cost hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plans and prohibiting unfunded retroactive increases, among other options. We will need our state legislature’s support to take these steps.
The County of Marin is in a much better financial position regarding pension costs than any other county in the State of California, and we have always worked hard to be fiscally responsible. While safety retirees average $61,720, the average county employee receives approximately $30,000 a year in pension benefits (benefits that they contributed to). We are working to put measures in place to ensure that our pension system is fair to employees and taxpayers and operates responsibly.