Sacramento, California

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Sacramento, California
Flag of Sacramento, California.svg
General information
Kevin Johnson CA.jpg
Mayor:Kevin Johnson
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:2012
Next mayoral election:2016
Last city council election:2012
Next city council election:2014
City council seats:9
2014-2015 FY Budget:$819 million
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:479,686
Gender:51.3% Female
Race:White 45.0%
Hispanic or Latino 26.9
African American 14.6%
Asian 18.3%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 1.1%
Two or More 7.1%
Unemployment:8.4%
Median household income:$50,661
High school graduation rate:82.1%
College graduation rate:29.4%
Related Sacramento offices
California Congressional Delegation
California State Legislature
California state executive offices
Sacramento is the capital city of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. As of 2013, its population was 479,686.[1]

City government

The city of Sacramento utilizes a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council, which includes the mayor and serves as the city's primary legislative body, appoints a chief executive called a city manager. The responsibilities of the city manager include overseeing the city's day-to-day operations, planning and implementing the city's operating budget, carrying out council policies and hiring most city government employees.[2][3]

"Measure L"

See also: City of Sacramento "Strong Mayor" Mayor-Council Form of Government Charter Amendment, Measure L (November 2014)

In the November 2014 elections, citizens of Sacramento will have the option of restructuring their city's form of government. "Measure L" - also known as the Sacramento Checks and Balances Act of 2014 - will transition Sacramento from a council-manager system to a "strong mayor" and council system. If Measure L passes, the city manager will be replaced by the mayor as the city's chief executive.[4] A similar initiative almost appeared on the June 8, 2010 elections, but a Sacramento judge ordered its removal.[5]

Mayor

The mayor presides over city council meetings and official city ceremonies.[2] Kevin Johnson is the current mayor of Sacramento.[6]

City council

The Sacramento City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for approving and adopting the city budget, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[6]

Membership

The city council consists of nine members including the mayor. While the mayor is elected at-large, the other eight council members are elected by the city's eight districts.[6]

A full list of city council members can be found here

Committees

A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Chesapeake City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[7]

For a full list of Sacramento's commissions, boards and committees, see here

Elections

2014

See also: Sacramento, California municipal elections, 2014.

The city of Sacramento, California will hold nonpartisan elections for city council on November 4, 2014. A primary election took place on June 3, 2014. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in Districts 1 and 5 was on March 7, 2014. The deadline for Districts 3 and 7 was March 12, 2014.[8]

Four seats are up for election. These include districts 1, 3, 5 and 7. Incumbents Angelique Ashby and Jay Schenirer are running for re-election in districts 1 and 5, respectively. The former is running unchallenged. Districts 3 and 7 are both open seats.

A special election for District 8 will coincide with the November 4 general election. The winner of this race will fill the seat vacated by Bonnie Pannell. Pannell, who was first elected to city council in 1998, announced her retirement in April 2014.[9] In the special election, the candidate with the most votes will be declared the winner. The city has stated that there will not be a runoff election for District 8.[10]

Budget

Sacramento's adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2013-14 was $819 million.[11]

The city's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. The city manager proposes a budget annually to the City Council, who must approve a balanced budget.[12]

Ballot measures

See also: Sacramento County, California ballot measures

The city of Irvine is in Sacramento County. A list of ballot measures in Sacramento County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California.

Population as of the July 2011 census update: 472,178.[13] Sacramento is a charter city.

Sacramento has its own initiative process for ordinances determined by the city charter. The state process (see above for details) is applicable wherever the city is silent. The signature requirements are 10%, as the minimum, and 15%, for a more expedited process, of the last official report of registered voters. The petition goes to the ballot unless passed unaltered by the legislature and the time frame is dependent on the number of signatures.

The Sacramento City Charter

Lobbying

In 2013, Sacramento spent a total of $440,000 on federal lobbying.[14]

Pensions

Sacramento is facing nearly $2 billion in long-term unfunded pension liabilities. The big three categories are:[15]

  • $950 million in retirement benefits
  • $823 million in bond debt
  • $167 million in other future costs, including insurance claims, development fee credits and landfill closures

Under agreements reached between the City Council and labor unions more than 20 years ago, most city retirees receive $300 a month for medical costs. Employees who retire from the Fire Department get roughly $750 a month. City leaders said the pay-as-you-go formula is not sustainable. To keep pace with future obligations to the medical benefit, he said annual payments by the city would need to increase by $30 million, leaders said.[16]

City employees are required to participate in the California Public Employees' Retirement System. A summary of employee benefits can be found here.

Police and firefighters are currently exempt from paying into their CalPERS retirement accounts, something that Mayor Kevin Johnson and the City Council are looking to change. Firefighter and police contracts run through 2013, and any changes would have to be made by re-opening the contract or waiting for its expiration. As a result of rising emergency personell pension costs, the FY 2011-2012 budget laid off police and firefighters. The city estimates that a 4% contribution to the CalPERS system would save the city $4 million annually.[17]

Councilman Steve Cohn that the city attorney's office provide a legal opinion on a possible ballot measure on pension changes. Cohn wants to know whether a ballot measure requiring added employee contributions to pensions would be legal, given that those changes could supersede the collective bargaining process.[18]

A half-cent hike passed in November kicks in April 1, raising the total sales tax in Sacramento to 8.5 percent. The city will get about $5 million more before the current fiscal year ends June 30 and an estimated $27 million a year after that. There's still a general fund deficit projected at $9.5 million for 2013-14 and around $14 million each of the next four budgets. Those figures – outlined in a five-year financial forecast the council is set to receive Tuesday night – are based on current contracts with city employee unions and on expected increases in pension costs.[19]

Police and fire pensions

Sacramento officials have reached a tentative agreement with the city's firefighter union, a deal that would save 44 jobs. Details of the tentative deal have not been released, the City Council has sought increased pension payments from firefighters to help fill a citywide $15.7 million deficit.[20]

However, the police unions are not willing to make the same concessions, which could cost 19 officers their positions due to lack of funding. In 2011 several Sacramento officers were laid off because they were not willing to make concessions on pensions which limited the city budget.[21] The city wants the officers to pay nine percent of retirement costs. If the union doesn't agree, 19 officers will lose their jobs. Police officers currently do not pay into their funds.[22] The City Council voted 8-1 June 12 to approve a citywide budget that will result in 19 police officers being laid off at the end of the month after labor negotiators failed to reach a deal with the police union over pensions.[23]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of California city websites
Grade2.pngA-
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying N
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Public Records
{{{1}}}
Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • Budget
    • Budget information is available online.[24]
    • Budgets are archived to 2004.
  • Audits
    • Audit reports are available.[25]
    • Audits are archived to 2003.
  • Meetings
    • Agendas and minutes are available for City Council Meetings.[26]
    • Meetings are archived for over three years.
  • Elected officials
    • The Mayor and city council officials contact information and detailed biographies are posted online.[27]
  • Administration
    • Administrative departments and officials' names and contact information is provided.[28]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Building permit forms are posted.[29]
    • Zoning information is posted.[30]
  • Contracts
    • Information on bids and proposals are available.[31]
    • Vendor portal is posted.[32]
  • Public records
    • Provides access to public records[33]
  • Taxes
    • Tax information and forms are available.[34]
  • Lobbying
    • City requires registering of lobbyists who lobby council.[35]

The bad

  • Lobbying
    • Information on taxpayer funded lobbying is not provided.
  • Checkbook register
    • There is no checkbook register available

See also

External links

References

  1. U.S. Census, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on September 2, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 City of Sacramento Charter Art. IV, Sec. 40, accessed on September 2, 2014
  3. City of Sacramento, "Office of the City Manager," accessed on September 2, 2014
  4. City of Sacramento, "Impartial Analysis of Measure L Prepared by Sacramento City Attorney," accessed on September 2, 2014
  5. Sacramento Bee, "Sacramento judge intends to bar strong-mayor proposal from ballot," January 15, 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 City of Sacramento, "Mayor and Council," accessed on September 2, 2014
  7. City of Sacramento, "Committees," accessed on August 11, 2014
  8. City of Sacramento, "Candidate Information for the June 3, 2014 Primary Municipal Election," accessed March 10, 2014
  9. KCRA, "Bonnie Pannell to retire from Sacramento City Council," April 1, 2014
  10. City of Sacramento, "Elections," accessed on October 1, 2014
  11. City of Sacramento FY 2013-14 Budget in Brief, accessed on August 18, 2014
  12. City of Sacramento, "Budget process" accessed on September 2, 2014
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named census
  14. Open Secrets, "City of Sacramento, CA," accessed on September 2, 2014
  15. Sacramento Bee, :Editorial: Sacramento must tackle unfunded debts, worker benefits," Jan. 8, 2013
  16. Sacramento Bee, "Sacramento city manager details unfunded debt obligations," Jan. 9, 2013
  17. Sacramento Bee, "Mayor Johnson urges pension talks to save Sacramento police jobs," 29 June, 2011
  18. Sacramento Bee, "Sacramento council steps up talk on pensions, taxes," June 8, 2012
  19. Sacramento Bee, "Editorial: Even with sales tax boost, Sacramento City Council must take hard look at benefits," Jan. 13, 2013
  20. Sacramento Bee, "Tentative deal with Sacramento firefighters would save 44 jobs," June 12, 2012
  21. Sacramento Bee, "Marcos Breton: Cops risk losing public support over pension stance," June 13, 2012
  22. California Public Radio, "Sacramento Police Union Still Balking at Pension Contributions," June 12, 2012
  23. Sacramento Bee, "Sacramento council approves city budget; pension talks continue with police union," June 13, 2012
  24. City of Sacramento, "Budget," accessed on September 2, 2014
  25. City of Sacramento, "Audit reports," accessed on September 2, 2014
  26. City of Sacramento, "Agenda and Minutes," accessed on September 2, 2014
  27. City of Sacramento, "Mayor and City Council officials," accessed on September 2, 2014
  28. City of Sacramento, "Departments Guide," accessed on September 2, 2014
  29. City of Sacramento, Building Permits," accessed on September 2, 2014
  30. City of Sacramento, "Zoning Information," accessed on September 2, 2014
  31. City of Sacramento, "Bids and Proposals
  32. City of Sacramento, "Vendor portal," accessed on September 2, 2014
  33. City of Sacramento, "Public records," accessed on September 2, 2014
  34. City of Sacramento, "Revenue services," accessed on September 2, 2014
  35. City of Sacramento, "City Lobbying," accessed on September 2, 2014