To promote fiscal sustainability-- City of Santa Ana

Michael McGrath
Santa Ana officials ignored the early warning signs of economic distress and a growing structural deficit and failed to develop a long-term strategy for fiscal sustainability. It’s not that Santa Ana has been a spendthrift community. With the exception of public safety, the city has had low per capita general fund spending when compared to other communities and had enacted significant cutbacks before 2011. But city officials did not have a plan to promote fiscal sustainability, apparently hoping that the economy would recover and the fiscal problems would be resolved. As Management Partners suggested in 2011, “Santa Ana will need to take bold, decisive action to implement changes in its cost structure” (p. 6) if city officials want to achieve fiscal balance. Beginning in 2011, the city has taken steps in that direction, but success will depend on the continuing ability to negotiate with the unions for affordable wage and benefits agreements. Union concessions on overtime are effective only until fiscal year 2013–2014.

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