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Money management is not just an issue for locals this holiday season. Springfield City Council has been unable to focus on anything else. On Tuesday City Manager Greg Burris came to council with several issues facing the Police and Fire Pension Fund. KSMU’s Erika Brame attended the luncheon and files this report.
City Manager Greg Burris proposed four scenarios of what the police and fire pension fund may look like, depending on whether the one cent sales tax passes or fails.He reviewed the City’s sales tax growth over the past few years, and from that came up with a projection of how much it will grow in the future.“And that our average growth rate over the past 10-15 years has been 3 percent. We thought a .75 percent growth rate would be considered fairly conservative. Obviously city council would like to see a little more conservative than that and that’s fine because no body can predict what’s going to happen in this market,” he said.
Mayor Carlson says he knows that times are tough, but wants to remind voters that a city government, like anyone else, needs funding before it can serve effectively.
“I think candidly it’s up to the people to decide what level of government service their willing to pay for,” he said.
Council went back and forth about the numbers, but all agreed that Burris’ projected sales tax growth of .75 percent was a bit optimistic.Two major factors have played into these scenarios.First, on Monday night, city council passed a bill obligating the city to pay nearly 30 percent into the fund if voters pass the one cent sales tax increase.Second, the pension fund assets lost about 4 million dollars between October and November.Burris says the public needs to be informed about what the city faces if the one cent sales tax increase does not pass.
“Any voter going into the polls on February 3rd has a right to know that if it passes this means this will stay, if it fails these things go away,” he said.
Burris declined to say at this time which programs would be cut if the ballot measure does not pass.With or without a voter approved sales tax the council faces strenuous budget constraints for the next fiscal year.For KSMU News I’m Erika Brame.