Former State Senator John Moorlach's op-ed in the OC Register today laid out how devastating COVID has been to municipal budgets.
Moorlach lays out his metric for determining a municipality's general fiscal health thusly:
The metric I use is the Unrestricted Net Position, or UNP, in the Statement of Net Position, but only for Governmental Activities. I then divide that number by the city’s population to get a per capita number.
For example, Costa Mesa’s 2020 CAFR yields a negative UNP of -$251 million. This city has a quarter-billion-dollar deficit. For uniformity, I use the 2019 population number on Google, based on U.S. Census data, which is 113,159. So the City of the Arts’ per capita UNP is -$2,222. That’s the worst of all 34 OC cities. Put another way, the city has run up debt on each resident of that amount, or -$8,888 per family of four.