Our fair city of Costa Mesa has been roiled with controversy over the past few weeks about our serious budget deficit and the actions our City Council is taking in an attempt to correct it. I thought I'd look into the facts about this situation, in an effort to cut through the rhetoric and become better informed.
According to reported data, the average Costa Mesa household earns about $60,000 per year. Three hundred and sixty-six of Costa Mesa's 472 employees are paid more than $100,000 per year. Eighty-five of them take down more than $200,000 per year. We spend more than 85% of our total budget on salaries.
From more than 20% spent on infrastructure improvements (streets, curbs, parks, etc.) just a few years back, our current budget allows for less than 4%. We're still about $1.5 million upside down on this year's budget. A $15 million annual revenue shortfall is projected in the very near future without major changes. And the city is more than $130 million underfunded in terms of its pension contribution obligations.