Archive for the ‘Expenditures’ Category

OPEB-City of Memphis vs. Shelby County and MCS vs. Old Shelby County Schools

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

April 15, 2014

OPEB-City of Memphis vs. Shelby County and MCS vs. Old Shelby County Schools

This is a very interesting subject and shows how badly the City of Memphis has been run, both the school systems and the general administration.

Look at the following attachments

A)    Shelby County CAFR from 2013 showing an unfunded liability of $306 million. DOWN $13 million from 2008 to 2013.

B)    Shelby County CAFR from 2008 showing an unfunded liability of $319 million.

C)    City of Memphis CAFR 2008 showing an unfunded liability of $857 million.

D)   City of Memphis CAFR 2013 showing an unfunded liability of $1.29 billion dollars. UP $433 million from 2008 to 2013.

E)     Old Shelby County Board of Education 2011 showing an unfunded liability of $334 million (June 2010)

F)     City of Memphis Board of Education 2011 showing an unfunded liability of $1.16 billion dollars.

So it is obvious that Shelby County has been much better run than the City of Memphis and congratulations to past Shelby County (more…)

PILOTS-Are They Paying Their Way?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

April 10, 2014

PILOTS-Are They Paying Their Way?

I am not talking about Malasian flight 370 but they are just as mysterious. “PILOT” stands for Payment In Lieu of Taxes. A company opens a business here or expands a business here or moves from one place to another and asks for abatement of taxes for the next 5, 10, 15 or more years from the City or the County or both.

They go to EDGE (Economic Development Growth Engine) run by Reid Dulberger and 5 will get your 10 that they will get the tax abatement for 15. According to the EDGE website “The impact of the program since 2008 includes: 14,500 new jobs with $581 million of new annual payroll, $3.88 billion new capital investment, $464 million new Minority/Women-owned business receipts and 17,900 talented individuals attracted/retained.”

WOW. Who could be against those numbers? But wait, why does it not show up as additional income for Memphis and Shelby County?

Here is what their database says. “To date, EDGE projects have generated $1.6 billion in projected capital investment, 6,676 new/retained jobs, $545 million in projected new tax revenue and $344 million in MWBE/LOSB spending commitments.” WHERE IS THE BEEF?

Here are my thoughts on what needs to be done.

Attached here is David Lenoir’s (Shelby County Trustee) 2013 In-Lieu Properties Annual Report. Total tax exemptions stand at $49.9 million at the end of 2013. Section VI shows contractS aged by expiration date and Section VII shows In-Lieu delinquent tax notices.

It is my understanding from Mr. Lenoir that this shows only in lieu information from the county, not the city. Therefore the $50 million annual tax abatement is probably more like $75 million total city and county.

Here, in my opinion, is what needs to be done to restore some confidence to the EDGE program.

1)    The City of Memphis should publish a similar annual report showing their figures as the County does in the same format.

2)    Both the County and the City should show a report showing all the past Pilots that have been completed (Section VI) and showing the abated tax amount and then the actual tax amounts for each year after the end of the Pilot for the property so that the (more…)

What Memphis Must Do

Monday, April 7th, 2014

April 7, 2014

What Memphis Must Do

We are coming down to crunch time at the City of Memphis concerning the 2015 budget. I have researched and written on the City finances ad nauseum. Now is decision time. Do we kick the can down the road (the past favorite for many years) or step up to the plate?

Shelby County is the model for what should have been done in past years. However the leadership from the past and present city mayors and city councils has been abysmal. Too many people on the pension rolls (remember the January 2001 pension resolution which gave pensions to elected and appointed people with just 12 years of service regardless of age), too many people on retiree health care, too many people with line of duty disabilities, too many people on the payroll, too many days not working due to excessive sick days, vacations and paid days off. The county and the city have much the same governmental formats (except in the case of line of duty disability) but in the past, the county just made the hard unpopular decisions and had a clear vision of what future costs would be. The City’s vision was the next election, not future cost control.

Here is what must be done at The City. Health care reform for active and retired employees by lowering the city’s costs dramatically. Pension reform by going to a defined contribution plan for all unvested employees. Turn line of duty disability (more…)

Comparison of City of Memphis Health Care Cost to Obamacare

Monday, March 31st, 2014

March 31, 2014

 

Comparison of City of Memphis Health Care Cost to Obamacare

It is fascinating to watch the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) deadlines pass, the specific provisions of the law get changed and the media spin go round and round. I decided to look at the current City of Memphis health care costs and compare it with Obamacare bronze, silver, gold,Platinum and catastrophic health plans.

First the City of Memphis three plans, Basic, Premier and Value plans.

Plan Type                  Annual Cost to Employee             Annual Cost to Taxpayers

Basic single                           $1944                                                            $6480

Basic Plan family                 $4127                                                            $13757

Premier single                     $2109                                                            $7030

Premier family                    $4260                                                            $14201

Value Plan single                $1008                                                            $3360

Value Plan family               $3540                                                            $11800

Annual Deductible In Network

Basic Plan Single                                         $350

Basic Plan Family                                        $1050

Premier Plan Single                                   $100

Premier Plan Family                                  $300

Value Plan Single                                        $1500

Value Plan Family                                       $3000

Co-Insurance Hospital and Other Services

Basic Plan                                         10% You, 90% Plan

Premier Plan                                    0% You, 100% Plan

Value Plan                                        30% You, 70% Plan

Annual Out Of Pocket Maximum

Basic Plan                                         Sgl $1500, Family $3000

Premier Plan                                    Nothing

Value Plan                                        Sgl $3000, Family $6000

Office Visit and Hospital

Basic Plan- (Primary Care Physician (PCP) and Specialist, 10% after deductible, Plan 90%)

Premier Plan- ($20 for PCP, $40 Specialist + deductible, Plan 100%)

Value Plan- (30% after deductible, Plan 70%)

There are other items as shown on the attached sheet but these are the major items. These look like good deals for City employees but depending on income, some may do better on Obamacare.

Now as to Obamacare, it is very difficult to get comparable figures because they do not want you to know until you submit all your (more…)

Health Care At Local Public Employers Under Obamacare

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

March 24, 2014

Health Care At Local Public Employers Under Obamacare

There was a fascinating presentation last Tuesday at the City of Memphis Executive Committee meeting. Shea Flinn introduced Stuart Collier of Collier Insurance who introduced Eric Hellman of Continuous Health.

Mr. Hellman’s presentation sought to explain Obamacare’s effect on health care and particularly its possible effect on health care costs for the City of Memphis and by the same token, Shelby County and the MLGW. It was a well done presentation and you can see his power point presentation here and also you can go to the City of Memphis website and see and hear the videotaped presentation (http://memphis.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=6&clip_id=4157).

It was long but very informative. What I got out of what he was saying is that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) opens up the possibility of reducing cost for the City of Memphis by letting lower paid employees go to the state exchanges to get subsidized coverage. That means the taxpayers, nationwide, will pick up part of our heath care cost.

There are four main points in Obamacare as it was originally signed. (Of course it changes day to day with executive orders).

  • All employees working 30 hours per week or more must be covered.
  • The coverage provided must be affordable. Affordable means it must pay at least 60% of the average medical costs of what the Department of Health and Human Services determines to be a standard population.
  • Obamacare limits the amount an employee can be required to pay towards the annual health insurance premium to 9.5% of the employee’s household income.
  • Obamacare requires coverage to be affordable and for those employees whose annual income is less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, Obamacare provides a federal tax credit to partially subsidize the purchase of insurance in a public exchange. This translates to individuals with incomes up to $44,680 and to families of four with incomes up to $92,200.

Confused? What a monster these DC politicians have created. However I think Collier and Hellman should be hired to present their (more…)

Flying In Or Out Of Memphis

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

March 4, 2014

Flying In Or Out Of Memphis

Yesterday I sent a letter to the editor of Commercial Appeal and it was published. It is shown below. As I read some of the reader comments to the letter, I was criticized for not being supportive of the new parking garage and for the future of Memphis. Believe me I want Memphis to grow and succeed and to get its fiscal house in order. Last week I asked for financial reports from the airport authority and while they were not published on the internet, they did send me electronically a huge list of Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs), a recent S&P credit rating report and lots of other information. All of this should be on their website but currently is not posted.

Here is some of the relevant data.

In the year 2000 we had 10.6 total passengers. In 2007 we had about the same numbers of total passengers. In 2013 we had 5.5 million passengers. Yet in 2001 they were planning the three story parking garage addition. In 2007 they stated in the CAFR that the new garage would proceed at a cost of $70 million dollars. Forward to 2009 and read the Memphis Business Journal article (more…)

Shelby County Head Start

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

 

February 25, 2014

As I was reviewing information from the County concerning the new 2014 healthcare rates for active employees I came across a listing for rates for 10 month employees. I asked about this and they told me that these were the employees for the Shelby County Head Start Program. I remembered the proposed 1/2% sales tax proposal for the City for a pre K type program which failed to get the votes. However I did not know about the County program. I asked how many employees were involved, what did it cost and who was paying.

The County is great and fully transparent about answering questions in contrast to the City of Memphis, the old Memphis School System and the new Shelby County School system.

Well here are some details. The Executive Director is John Lovelace and he is paid a salary of $116,471.00 per year. According to (more…)

Health Care For Public Retirees

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

February 20, 2014

Health Care For Public Retirees

This is another huge cost area for which the taxpayers are paying. You are paying 70% of the health care cost for City of Memphis and Shelby County retirees and 75% of the cost for MLGW retirees. The bills come each year for medical care for retirees and their families and the current annual bills are paid by the City, County and the MLGW as they occur.

But like pension liability, there is a future cost liability that is supposed to be taken care of by the OPEB funds (Other Post Employment Benefits), mainly future health care costs and life insurance for retirees). This is where the problem lies, mainly with the City of Memphis, and to a lesser extent with the MLGW and Shelby County.

The unfunded OPEB liability for the City of Memphis is $1.29 billion dollars. For the MLGW it is $420 million and for Shelby (more…)

Line Of Duty Disability Reform

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

February 13, 2014

There are lots of things that need reform in the Memphis pension system and we have talked about the need for going to a defined contribution system rather than the current defined benefit system. Hopefully we will get there if the Mayor and the City Council do the right thing.

However I have often spoken about the need for line of duty disability reform. The Memphis pension board regularly approves applications for line of duty disability applications and has ten times more former employees on line of duty disability than Shelby County government or the MLGW. (These people on line of duty disability get 60% of their final average salary for their lifetime tax free).

Now I find out from Jeni Diprizio (a great reporter for Channel 24) that last month (January 30, 2014) Jason Webb applied for and (more…)

Health Care! What Does It Cost?

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

February 11, 2014

 

As if Obamacare is not bad enough, trying to compare local health care rates is not easy. But I will make an attempt to compare the active employee rates and the cost to you the taxpayers for the City of Memphis, the County and the MLGW. Here we go.

First you have to look at the plans available in 2014.

The City of Memphis has three options: Premier, Basic and Value plans. Attached is a brief overview. The prices shown in red are what the employee pays twice a month or 24 times per year. This is the 30%. You, the taxpayer, pays the 70%.

The Basic family plan costs the employee $4127 per year. It costs you the taxpayer (70% of total cost) $9630 per year. It’s total cost is $13757 per year.

The Basic plan covering the employee only costs the employee $1944 per year. It costs you the taxpayer (70% of total cost) $4536 per year. It’s total cost is $6480 per year.

(more…)