What percent of the City budget is spent on pensions and other post-employment benefits?

The City of Mill Valley has been a member of the California Public Employees System (CALPERS) since 1972, aiming to provide retirement pensions for City employees. Mill Valley also extends health insurance to long-serving employees upon their retirement after fifteen years of continuous employment (seven and one-half years for the City Manager and department managers) as an Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB).

The City Council has implemented various measures over the past thirty-five years to contain and reduce both current and long-term pension costs, including:

  • Executing reduced benefit, less costly pension formulas with CALPERS
  • Requiring employees pay a portion of the pension costs 
  • Limiting the available cost-of-living adjustment in pensions
  • Establishing the most modest retirement calculation available under the law to prohibit pension calculation spiking
  • Issuing a pension obligation bond to pay the unfunded "side-fund" liability and reduce annual premium costs
  • Establishing multiple tiers of benefit contracts to implement reduced pension benefits to new employees and reduce costs to the City
  • Establishing eleven separate pension formulas or tiers through labor negotiations or by virtue of State legislation in an effort to reduce pension costs

The City currently allocates about 18.0% of the General Fund Operating Budget to pension costs (approx $5,894,171.00) and about 3.7% to OPEB costs (approx $1,219,503.00).

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1. I live in Tam Valley, Homestead Valley and/or Strawberry. Do City taxes impact me?
2. What is the current Sales Tax in Mill Valley, and how does it compare to other Marin Towns and Cities?
3. What is the current Transfer Tax rate in Mill Valley, and how much revenue does it bring in?
4. What percent of City residents’ Property Taxes directly benefit the City, and where do other revenues go?
5. What does the City’s Municipal Service Tax pay for and how much revenue does it bring in?
6. What percentage of the City budget is funded by Property Taxes?
7. What percent of the City budget is spent on pensions and other post-employment benefits?
8. When was the last time the City was audited to make sure funds are being spent properly?