Colorado Springs ranks 20th among 75 U.S. cities in financial watchdog Truth in Accounting’s 2019 Financial State of the Cities report.

The report gave Colorado Springs a ‘C’ grade because of its $2,000 taxpayer burden — the amount each taxpayer would have to cough up to pay off the city’s bills.

The analysis by Truth in Accounting of the city’s latest audited financial report found financial decisions made by elected officials have left Colorado Springs with a $326.4 million shortfall, which equates to $2,000 per taxpayer.

Most of the debt comes from retirement liabilities that have accumulated over many years, the report states: “Of the $2.9 billion in retirement benefits promised, the city has not funded $509.4 million in pension and $43 million in retiree health care benefits.”

The report also stated that Colorado Springs has $1.6 billion available in assets to pay $1.9 billion worth of bills. It claims the city’s reported net position is overstated by $282.5 million, “largely because the city delays recognizing losses incurred when the net pension liability increases.”

Even so, the nonprofit financial watchdog organization termed the city’s finances “in decent shape.”

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“While our City, by charter, always maintains a balanced budget, any city in Colorado will be challenged by the existing unfunded liability of PERA,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers stated in an email. “That is a situation only the Colorado legislature can resolve.

“The city of Colorado Springs has a remarkably small level of debt for a city its size. I applaud the state for taking measures last fall to begin to remedy the issue. As for the city of Colorado Springs, we will be as financially prudent as possible going forward.”

The city’s ranking has improved since last year, when it was listed at No. 27 among the 75 most populous cities. The report, released Jan. 24, 2018, stated that the city’s debt burden was $504.8 million and equated to $3,100 for every Colorado Springs taxpayer.

The 2019 annual report found that only 12 of the largest cities have more assets than obligations, a key indicator of long-term financial health. The remaining 63 cities carried varying levels of debt, many of them in the billions of dollars range.

Irvine, Calif., had the best showing, with a $377 million fiscal surplus. If the city were to divide that figure by the estimated number of Irvine taxpayers, everyone would get a $4,400 check in the mail.

Many larger and older cities owe billions of dollars to unfunded retirement plans for public-sector employees.

New York City was listed as having the worst municipal finances in the United States for the third year in a row. Every taxpayer in the Big Apple would have to pay $64,100 in order for the city to pay off all its bills, the report stated.

Chicago, second worst in the nation, would need each taxpayer to pay $36,000. The average taxpayer burden across all 75 cities in the report works out to $7,500.

The Financial State of the Cities report can be found online here.

The full 75-city rankings:

New York City Taxpayer Burden: $64,100

Chicago Taxpayer Burden: $36,000

Philadelphia Taxpayer Burden: $27,000

Honolulu Taxpayer Burden: $23,000

San Francisco Taxpayer Burden: $22,600

Dallas Taxpayer Burden: $21,600

Oakland Taxpayer Burden: $21,100

Portland Taxpayer Burden: $20,300

Pittsburgh Taxpayer Burden: $17,800

New Orleans Taxpayer Burden: $17,100

St. Louis Taxpayer Burden: $16,700

Baltimore Taxpayer Burden: $14,600

Miami Taxpayer Burden: $14,200

Nashville Taxpayer Burden: $14,000

Atlanta Taxpayer Burden: $12,800

Boston Taxpayer Burden: $12,800

Fort Worth Taxpayer Burden: $12,500

Houston Taxpayer Burden: $11,300

San Jose Taxpayer Burden: $10,200

Cincinnati Taxpayer Burden: $9,200

Tucson Taxpayer Burden: $8,900

Jacksonville Taxpayer Burden: $8,800

Milwaukee Taxpayer Burden: $8,200

Omaha Taxpayer Burden: $7,300

Anaheim Taxpayer Burden: $7,200

Detroit Taxpayer Burden: $6,900

Lexington Taxpayer Burden: $6,900

Memphis Taxpayer Burden: $6,600

Los Angeles Taxpayer Burden: $6,000

Phoenix Taxpayer Burden: $5,900

Virginia Beach Taxpayer Burden: $5,900

Mesa Taxpayer Burden: $5,800

Columbus Taxpayer Burden: $5,500

Toledo Taxpayer Burden: $5,500

Orlando Taxpayer Burden: $5,300

Albuquerque Taxpayer Burden: $5,200

Santa Ana Taxpayer Burden: $5,100

San Diego Taxpayer Burden: $5,000

Seattle Taxpayer Burden: $4,900

Cleveland Taxpayer Burden: $4,700

Denver Taxpayer Burden: $4,600

El Paso Taxpayer Burden: $4,500

Austin Taxpayer Burden: $4,300

Sacramento Taxpayer Burden: $4,000

Indianapolis Taxpayer Burden: $3,800

Riverside Taxpayer Burden: $3,700

San Antonio Taxpayer Burden: $3,200

Chula Vista Taxpayer Burden: $3,000

Saint Paul Taxpayer Burden: $2,900

Louisville Taxpayer Burden: $2,900

Las Vegas Taxpayer Burden: $2,800

Henderson Taxpayer Burden: $2,200

Minneapolis Taxpayer Burden: $2,100

Anchorage Taxpayer Burden: $2,100

Colorado Springs Taxpayer Burden: $2,000

Bakersfield Taxpayer Burden: $1,500

Fort Wayne Taxpayer Burden: $1,400

Long Beach Taxpayer Burden: $1,300

Corpus Christi Taxpayer Burden: $1,100

Oklahoma City Taxpayer Burden: $1,000

Greensboro Taxpayer Burden: $600

Tulsa Taxpayer Burden: $500

Arlington Taxpayer Surplus: $100

Raleigh Taxpayer Surplus: $600

Wichita Taxpayer Surplus: $800

Plano Taxpayer Surplus: $1,800

Tampa Taxpayer Surplus: $2,300

Aurora Taxpayer Surplus: $2,300

Stockton Taxpayer Surplus: $2,500

Fresno Taxpayer Surplus: $2,500

Lincoln Taxpayer Surplus: $2,900

Washington, DC Taxpayer Surplus: $3,300

Charlotte Taxpayer Surplus: $3,400

Irvine Taxpayer Surplus: $4,400

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