Costa Mesa also has more cash on hand than it did last summer, when the city only had $5 million. The city now has about $16 million in usable cash, but that changes monthly as revenue flows in.
The city has $27 million in designated funds. Of that $27 million, about $14 million is emergency money and the rest is designated for other purposes.
The totals are still significantly lower than previous years. In just 2006, Costa Mesa had more than $56 million in designated funds — labeled in city books as "unreserved" — which were actually assigned for certain city expenses and projects.
On the pension side, Rick Santos of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) revealed that if the city's workforce remains the same over the next three years, Costa Mesa will owe more than $25 million to the fund. That total, higher than previously projected, does not include city employees' contributions, which would lower the total the city owes.
The state's pension investments would also have to perform better than expected in the next several years for the city's costs to level off.
Tuesday's meeting was the first of many the city is planning with the public. There are the regularly scheduled City Council meetings May 3 and May 17, and in between those dates are study sessions, discussions on Chief Executive Tom Hatch's recommended cuts, and five-year financial forecasts.