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A Federal Overlay Over North Edge of Monrovia? Auditor says Monrovia Finances Fine

Yellow line shows how far proposed National Recreation Area would extend into Monrovia.

In his latest report ( City Manager Oliver Chi reports:

~ California Senator Kamala Harris recently introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (, which would create a National Recreation Area in the mountains above Monrovia. City staff, wanting to figure out how it might affect the city, made "repeated attempts to obtain a map of the NRA (including through direct contact with Senator Harris' staff) [which] have resulted in staff being told that 'there is no map' of the boundaries of the proposed NRA."

Ah, but there is.

Chi writes that, "we can confirm that there is indeed a map of the proposed NRA associated with Senator Harris' legislation, and that the proposed measure ... does not seem to impact non-Federally owned land, however, it does create an additional overlay of Federal bureaucracy over the entire NRA area (including portions of Monrovia), and it mandates that within 3-years after the passage of the law, the Secretary of the Interior prepare a comprehensive Management Plan."

~  A draft Fiscal Year 2017/18 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report by auditors Lance, Soll, & Lunghard indicates - Chi reports - that  "the City has received a clean fiscal audit once again this year!  In addition, of particular note, I am happy to report that overall, the City's General Fund is healthy and structurally balanced, as we ended Fiscal Year 2017/18 with an ending fund balance of $6.5M, which is a positive net increase of $267,000." However, he says, changes in accounting rules require the city to record retirement benefits differently, which means the city "shows a negative net position of around $3.3 million."

- Brad Haugaard

1 comment:

  1. First, why is there any need for the federal government to expand its landholdings? Who is pressuring Harris to do this...the same group that Chu was representing when her plan failed? Is this idea the most pressing thing Harris thinks she ought to work on? Really? I have some alternate suggestions where she might meddle and actually help someone. This ain't it.

    Well, it's nice the auditors didn't issue a "subject to" opinion or worse, but now Chi, after his great triumph a year ago of taking on debt to avoid onerous fees from CalPERS, with the assurance that this move would secure Monrovia's financial position on pensions, now says the pension monster leaves us with a negative balance of $3.3M. That would seem to be a $9.8M swing from what the financials show and what reality is.

    The auditor's opinion for the current year says, functionally, the City numbers are a fair presentation of its status at a point in time under the rules in effect at that time. GASB has been cracking down on absurdly optimistic return assumptions on pension assets (which the private sector had to deal with many years ago) which have understated unfunded liabilities for pension and healthcare promises by government entities. It would appear Monrovia is NOT out of the woods when it comes to the impact of such return assumptions on city finances.

    That a vast number of cities and other government agencies across the country have also lied about their unfunded liabilities doesn't justify Monrovia's political class from avoiding bad news. It makes them out as unable to learn from other's mistakes/mendacity.