War of numbers: Fire and Police ask City to invest more into pension fund


POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 5:45pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 8:09pm

It's a war of numbers between the City Manager and El Paso Fire and Police personnel. Members of the firemen and policemen pension fund are asking the city to invest more money into their pension. But if the last 45 years are any indication to what might happen this fiscal year - that won't happen.

The Chairman of the Board for the El Paso Firemen and Policemen pension fund said they have increased their portion to their fund at least seven times within the last 45 years. While they city’s has remained the same. Ultimately -- all this money comes from you -- the taxpayer.

Police and firefighters are asking the city to invest a little more into their pension.

"We would like the council to entertain the contribution increase,” Lt. Tyler Grossman said. Grossman is the Chairman of the Board for El Paso Firemen and Policemen pension fund and he explained they've already cut into their own salaries to invest."I do hope that we do have enough city council support to take a deeper look at this,” Grossman reiterated.

For the next fiscal year, they're asking for a 1.24-percent increase. What that breaks down to is $805,000 for FY 2014."Police and fire personnel would increase their contribution rate, as well,” Grossman added. Their investment would equal $625,000 more into their own pension.

"This year, the policemen's raise is in excess of 2-percent, I think it's 2.75-percent, so I mean, those are ludicrous," City Manager Joyce Wilson said. The City Manager says she has already addressed their concerns in a letter.

"The city is cutting services and reducing budgets elsewhere just to fund this and the reality is, is that they have a union contract where they're getting raises each year."Joyce Wilson argues that the city's contribution is more than adequate, "The city is already over investing in that plan to the tune of nearly 30-percent of our budget for FY 14,” Wilson explained.

Other cities, such as Austin, contribute 21.05-percent to their fire retirement system and for police they spend 21.63-percent.

While in El Paso, the amount remains as it has been for the last 45 years at 18.5-percent.

The city's budget hearings will continue over the next two weeks. The city manager did tell us that she may ask the council to take action and ask the fire and police pension board to increase their own members’ contribution.

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