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Old Mendocino County Courthouse Around 1915

California County Pension Debt


Mendocino County's Pension Debt

Impacts of the Pension Debt:

Four Major Direct Impacts

Mendocino County's Unfunded Pension Debt

Choices -

Five Main Impacts

Local Taxes Consumed

Staff Cuts

Public Service Cuts - Failing Roads

Pressure to Raise Taxes & Fees

Loss of Local Control


There are four types of major direct financial impacts today's unfunded pension debt imposes on Mendocino County. The negative impact will be much worse in the future. There are other long-term threats that could turn into major impacts some day - such as being forced into federal bankruptcy to write down a significant amount of the County's debt - but long-term threats/impacts are not what this section is about.

  1. Consumption of Local Taxes - Unfunded pension debt payments are consuming more and more of the County's local tax revenue. It diverts taxpayer-supplied funds from services to debt payments. This slowly erodes local control over County services.
  2. Staff Cuts - reduced number of employees and lower salaries and benefits.
  3. Reduced Services - cuts to services especially those that rely more on local funding, and significant deterioration of County infrastructure chiefly roads.
  4. Increased Taxes and Fees - significant pressure to increase taxes and fees imposed on the People to make up for increasing unfunded pension debt payments.
  5. Loss of Local Control - As pension-related County payments go up faster than the increase in its local tax base our County has less money to fund locally defined services and projects.

We'll take a look at each of these in the following pages.

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