City says fire/police retirement fund will cost local tax payers
By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Finance Director Bob Padmore says the days of zero increases to local property taxes may be over.
For three years in a row, the city has kept taxes either flat or slightly decreased.
However, certain expenses keep going up and can't be cut.
Officials say the city's contribution to police and fire retirement fund will increase 15% in the next budget cycle.
That represents a $650,000 increase to the budget.
That's the same as what the city spends to run the Tyson Events Center, Orpheum Theatre, and other facilities.
Sioux City is lobbying the state to eliminate the city's minimum contribution and the employees' maximum contribution rates, as well as reduce the benefit to people entering the system.
"Quite simply that's a property tax increase we're looking at. There's no way around it. Continually eating around the edges to fund public safety at the expense of our quality of life issues and our other basic services, at some point will lead to a community that provides good public safety and very little else," said Padmore.
The city also expressed concern that the state had not kept up its end of the bargain paying into the retirement fund.
"Reality is we'd still have a problem. There's inequity between what the city contributes and what the employee contributes, and to touch any of those issues you would have needed a Republican Senate, and that is a reality," said State Senator Bill Anderson.
Another issue that lawmakers say is unlikely to be touched this year: collective bargaining.
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