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The gulf between cost savings estimates in the city of San Diego’s November financial reform ballot measure is so vast the city’s Office of the Independent Budget Analyst doesn’t want to wade into it.
The analysis, written by city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone, estimates the city will save between $626,000 and $85.5 million a year if it implements a series of 10 reforms. The ballot measure requires the reforms to occur before the city temporarily increases the sales tax by a half-cent to 9.25 percent.
“I can’t say he’s wrong, but I’m not going to say he’s right, either,” said IBA Deputy Director Jeff Sturak.
It was particularly difficult to evaluate savings estimates for the two biggest items on the list: retiree health care and broad-based outsourcing known as “managed competition,” Sturak said. Savings from those two reforms make up about 80 percent of the high-end numbers.
Actual cost savings from those items depend on the depth of retiree health cuts and if the city decides to compete out any services, which is anticipated but not required by the ballot measure.
“There are so many variables we felt it was difficult to put a number to those,” Sturak said.
City Council asked the IBA to consult with the Mayor’s Office to develop the savings estimates. Sturak said Goldstone took the IBA’s input, but ultimately the dollar amounts in the analysis were the COO’s decision.
— LIAM DILLON