... and it ain't pretty:
In 1972, the city created a new pension plan for public-safety officers that allowed them to retire after 20 years and earn 50% of their final year's salary thereafter.
50%? How quaint! Encinitas firefighters get 60% after 20 years at 55 and 105% of their last year's (spiked) pay if they stay 35 years (plus cost-of-living increases, of course!). And it's not just firefighters -- all city employees get a similar deal with just a trivial 10% less than firefighters. We're going to have an army of city workers retiring in their 50's, living into their 80's or worse, and collecting decades of annual payments that are bigger than most working Encinitas residents' salaries!
How are we supposed to pay for that? Well, here's how it played out in Central Falls:
Over time, such labor costs have swamped the city's budget. In 1991, the state took over the schools because the city could no longer afford to fund them. But that didn't solve the problem of costly and restrictive collective-bargaining agreements.
Last year, labor costs made up roughly 70% of Central Falls's budget. [...] Unable to pay its bills, Central Falls wanted to declare bankruptcy, but the state intervened and put the town into receivership.
Retired judge Mark Pfeiffer was appointed last summer as receiver to review and fix the city's finances. His first move was to strip the mayor of his powers. Then he hiked property and car taxes by nearly 20%, and cut labor costs by $900,000. Those tax hikes have merely driven more people out of town: City officials tell me nearly half of the houses are boarded up.
And our city council thinks sports bars and train whistles are the most important issues it needs to address.