As Lexington city leaders work to make decisions on spending surplus money, questions persist regarding the police and fire pension fund. A January agreement between the Mayor and police and fire union representatives was hailed as a ‘fix.’ But, Council member Kevin Stinnett noted this week the need for additional city support does raise concern.
“It’s hard to find three million dollars extra each year, and if this is the trend that got us into trouble with the pension to begin with. So what is the real number, have we looked ahead. I know I asked this question back in June, when are we really gonna know in terms of budgeting, how much we put in there. I know the law says a minimum of 20 million based on the agreement, but for two years in a row now, we’re six million over,” said Stinnett.
Lexington Finance Commissioner Bill Omara says he would like to get more information before making any recommendation.
“I have many of those same questions to discuss with the actuary. I have not had that conversation and the actuary has not been presented to the board yet for discussion,” said O’mara.
Council member Ed Lane is also concerned about the pension fund situation.
“My concern is we need to have a structurally balanced budget. I think the mayor has said we’re not going to borrow any more money to be funding the pension fund, so it appears on the long haul we’re going to be spending more than we thought we were. We need to start addressing that early on, rather than waiting until the next budget to address it,” added Lane.
Stinnett added, a change in pension benefits could mean a decline in the overall monetary commitment. He says it may be the prediction is high for the first few years of the agreement.