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San Ramon council to talk pension expense reductions at special meeting

Redistricting presentation, funding for video wall at City Hall among topics for regular meeting later in evening

San Ramon council members are set to consider recommendations from staff regarding strategies to potentially reduce expenses for city employee pensions during a special meeting on Tuesday.

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City staff will present the San Ramon City Council with a report considering a pension expense reduction strategy that entails issuing new bonds, which could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, according to the staff report.

Currently, the city's 7% discount rate for pension obligation bonds under the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) is set to decrease to 6.8% in the 2023-24 fiscal year. The staff report notes that the city has the potential, given the current bond market, to issue new pension obligation bonds at a significantly lower rate, which could lead to a significant reduction in overall pension expense costs for the city.

Although they recommend issuing new bonds, staff also recommend that councilmembers weigh the pros and cons of this idea based on the report, given that the future of the bond market is difficult to predict, and the savings isn't guaranteed.

If the council agrees that new bonds would be a worthwhile option to explore, staff would then prepare a formal proposal to move forward for consideration at a regular city council meeting.

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The San Ramon City Council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 28) on Zoom. for the workshop on reducing pension expenses. The agenda is available here.

In other business

* The council's regular meeting is set to follow the special session, at 7 p.m. Tuesday via Zoom. The agenda is available here.

* Deputy city manager Steven Spedowfski will present an update on the 2021-22 redistricting process and related community outreach efforts. San Ramon's four regular City Council seats are elected by district instead of at-large citywide.

* The council is set to consider purchasing and installing a video wall for the rotunda at City Hall.

Funding for the project would be up to, but not exceeding, $337,000. The video wall would accommodate additional overflow crowds during public meetings at City Hall, as well as providing additional space for social distancing.

Currently, the rotunda holds a 45-inch TV and sound bar intended for overflow crowds, which is insufficient to comfortably accommodate people, according to city staff.

* Council members are also set to consider approving a second alternate for the Arts Advisory Council. Following the announcement of the vacant position, three applicants were interviewed by a subcommittee of the council, who recommended Tiffany Turner for the position.

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San Ramon council to talk pension expense reductions at special meeting

Redistricting presentation, funding for video wall at City Hall among topics for regular meeting later in evening

by / Danville San Ramon

Uploaded: Mon, Sep 27, 2021, 2:46 pm

San Ramon council members are set to consider recommendations from staff regarding strategies to potentially reduce expenses for city employee pensions during a special meeting on Tuesday.

City staff will present the San Ramon City Council with a report considering a pension expense reduction strategy that entails issuing new bonds, which could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, according to the staff report.

Currently, the city's 7% discount rate for pension obligation bonds under the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) is set to decrease to 6.8% in the 2023-24 fiscal year. The staff report notes that the city has the potential, given the current bond market, to issue new pension obligation bonds at a significantly lower rate, which could lead to a significant reduction in overall pension expense costs for the city.

Although they recommend issuing new bonds, staff also recommend that councilmembers weigh the pros and cons of this idea based on the report, given that the future of the bond market is difficult to predict, and the savings isn't guaranteed.

If the council agrees that new bonds would be a worthwhile option to explore, staff would then prepare a formal proposal to move forward for consideration at a regular city council meeting.

The San Ramon City Council will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 28) on Zoom. for the workshop on reducing pension expenses. The agenda is available here.

In other business

* The council's regular meeting is set to follow the special session, at 7 p.m. Tuesday via Zoom. The agenda is available here.

* Deputy city manager Steven Spedowfski will present an update on the 2021-22 redistricting process and related community outreach efforts. San Ramon's four regular City Council seats are elected by district instead of at-large citywide.

* The council is set to consider purchasing and installing a video wall for the rotunda at City Hall.

Funding for the project would be up to, but not exceeding, $337,000. The video wall would accommodate additional overflow crowds during public meetings at City Hall, as well as providing additional space for social distancing.

Currently, the rotunda holds a 45-inch TV and sound bar intended for overflow crowds, which is insufficient to comfortably accommodate people, according to city staff.

* Council members are also set to consider approving a second alternate for the Arts Advisory Council. Following the announcement of the vacant position, three applicants were interviewed by a subcommittee of the council, who recommended Tiffany Turner for the position.

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