By Lillian Boyd
State Sen. John Moorlach released his report assessing the financial soundness of each of California’s cities, ranking San Clemente in 12th place out of Orange County’s 34 cities—or 127th out of California’s 482 cities.
As Moorlach states in his report, all government entities in California must send the state audited financial statements so public officials, private watchdog groups, journalists and private citizens can review them. The most common name for these statements is an Annual Financial Report. Cities send the state a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
Moorlach analyzed California cities’ financial statements by dividing the city’s unrestricted net position (UNP) by the municipality’s population. The UNP includes both a municipality’s assets and liabilities, which can be either a positive number or a deficit number.
Moorlach’s office found the statement of net position per city in the city’s basic financial statement and specifically used the “unrestricted” dollar amount. “This number is the key, because it is about purely governmental activities,” the report states.
Moorlach then divides the unrestricted net position by the city’s population, giving the UNP per capita. This amount demonstrates how the individual resident is impacted.
According to Moorlach, if the UNP per capita is a positive number, that is good—the higher, the better. If it is a negative number, that could come with some issues.
The current report from Moorlach includes only information from 2017 and 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) from cities. With the numbers from those years, San Clemente’s UNP per capita came out to $361.
City officials did not respond to a request seeking comment as of this posting.
Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. Her work experience includes interviewing incarcerated individuals in the Los Angeles County jails, an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news as well as reporting and anchoring for a local news radio station in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter @Lillianmboyd and follow Dana Point Times at @danapointtimes.