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Statewide rankings place valley city as one of the worst at managing debt

CC CITY HALL

In a new report released by an Orange County state senator, Cathedral City was ranked as the fourth worst city at managing debt.

"I don't think its necessarily an indicator of our overall ability to manage our debt,” said Charlie McClendon. 

Charlie McClendon, City Manager of Cathedral City, said he’s not worried about the recent comprehensive annual financial report from an Orange County state senator. 

The statewide rankings place Cathedral City as one of the worst. 

City officials said a big portion of the debt reported on the list was for: 

"Debt of the former redevelopment agency which is on a payment schedule,” said McClendon. 

The report shows an unrestricted net position of over negative $209 million in 2018, which is about 3,800 for every person who lives in the city. 

McClendon pointed out that the large numbers include retiree medical liabilities for the first time. 

"We have started a fund begin pre-funding our OPEB obligations so each year the council has authorized making payments into that fund,” said McClendon. 

The city said they are managing their finances responsibly as they continue to pay off their debt. 

"We are also working with our employee groups to come up with new ways to deal with post-retirement benefits and council just approved a contract with our non-representative employees that will change the way we do post-employment medical benefits,” said McClendon. 

News Channel 3 looked at other Coachella Valley cities with a population of more than 50,000 residents. Palm Desert is in the best shape. Indio is in the red. And Cathedral City is in the worst shape. 

Most of the local cities have fewer than 50,000 people. Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, and La Quinta are all in positive territory. Coachella and Desert Hot Springs are in the red. And Palm Springs is in the worst shape with even deeper in the red than Cathedral City at $212 million. 

For full financial report, Click Here.

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Dani Romero

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