Like many other U.S. municipalities, Placentia faced a growing and dangerous fiscal crisis after the onset of the 2008 recession. The City had implemented many cost reduction and revenue enhancement measures over the past few years to address the City’s structural deficit, but despite these measures, the City continued to operate with an annual structural deficit of at least $1.5 million. Unless clear, decisive, and long-term solutions were implemented, the City would continue to struggle financially and would find it increasingly more difficult to continue providing the same level of quality municipal services to the community. Unlike many cities, Placentia trusted residents enough to put the future of its fiscal health in the hands of a group of residents that represented all walks of life within the City.
In 2014, when Placentia experienced a grim 5-year financial crisis, it entrusted its residents with the responsibility to help chart a course for the city’s future. To assist the City in identifying potential cost reduction and revenue enhancement ideas, a Citizens Fiscal Sustainability Task Force was formed. The task force, appointed by the City Council, included an artist, professor, arborist, engineer, regional distribution center manager, financial consultant for public and not-for-profit agencies, and two retirees. Its purpose was to closely examine the City’s revenue structure and structural budget deficit and make recommendations for creating new revenues and/or reducing costs. The members were from all parts of the city, from the most disadvantaged neighborhood to the most expensive area, and all parts in between.
Over the course of three years, the task force held 30 public meetings - publicized via the City’s website, social media, notices, emails - in various locations around the city. It analyzed the City’s finances, and prepared a final report of their conclusions for the city council.
The report included the City’s current financial health status as well as short, medium, and long-term options based on the City’s ten-year financial forecast. The task force completed a comprehensive, long range, fiscal forecast and developed a fiscal sustainability plan with specific recommendations for addressing areas of concern. The plan will be supported by city council and opportunities for ongoing community information-sharing and involvement will be studied.
The Citizens Fiscal Sustainability Task Force included members from all areas of the city with various socioeconomic backgrounds. As mentioned above, over the course of three years, the task force held 30 public in various locations around the city, analyzed the City’s finances, and prepared a final report of their conclusions for the city council.
The task force completed a comprehensive, long range, fiscal forecast and developed a fiscal sustainability plan with specific recommendations for addressing areas of concern. The plan is supported by city council and opportunities for additional community involvement strategies will be considered.
Placentia, CA– 2018 AAC Finalist: Presentation
Acting Director of Administration
City of Placentia
401 E Chapman Avenue