Residents following the European Sovereign Debt Crisis (EuroZone Debt Crisis) know it offers valuable financial lessons for Coronado city. Coronado officials who mask city debt and deny the existence of our city’s massive off-balance-sheet debt are acting against the best interests of our residents and taxpayers.
The most important lesson we learn from the Eurozone Debt Crisis is this:
Live within your means.
The next lesson is this:
In economic crisis, someone has to pay.
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Do the above government failures and systemic shortcomings sound familiar to you? They sound familiar to me because the same things are happening in Coronado. As a professional and an attorney who focuses on the facts and the law, I’m assisted in my role as City Councilwoman to protect and improve our city finances by applying to Coronado the lessons contained in the fact pattern of the ongoing EuroZone Debt Crisis.
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Coronado officials set our city up to fail financially when they focus primarily on the annual budget planning documents, and pass multiple unbalanced budgets with deficits while denying that the deficits exist. Coronado officials mask Coronado’s debt when they fail to reasonably consider during decision-making and fail to disclose to Coronado taxpayers — for whatever reason — our massive off-balance-sheet debt. Coronado’s off-balance-sheet debt includes:
- our total $232 million redevelopment debt (located here in our city’s self-reported, mayor- and council-approved current Recognized Obligated Payments Schedule, which is the official statement of our redevelopment debt broken down into line items), plus
- our approximately $100 million debt to the city employee pension program (otherwise known as our “unfunded pension liability”).
Intentionally missing opportunities to make the right financial choices and to inform the public about the reality of financial situation under our legal duty of transparency will end in financial failure for our town. Like the EuroZone Debt Crisis teaches us, Coronado will come to a bad financial end if our city continues in this wrong direction of denial, masking debt and refusing to consider off-balance-sheet items when making decisions that affect our city finances.
If you’ve been following our city council meetings and the electoral campaigns over the past few years, then you know that I’ve been the sole leader in advocating for a tighter fiscal policy in Coronado with a more prudent and forward-looking approach to risk management because it’s clear that our business as usual is harmful to Coronado residents and taxpayers.