Grand Island City Council Postpones Pension Decisions

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

It's a controversy that's left the City of Grand Island scratching its head. There's a discrepancy in police pensions payments and now the council must come up with a solution to a problem that isn't on the record. That's why at Tuesday night's meeting, the council voted to postpone making a decision. Council President Bob Niemann says more time was needed to look at all the issues.

"To rush into this thing would be a major mistake. We need to talk about it more and come up with a decent solution," said Niemann.

And to help come up with that solution, a study session will be held for the council on January 15th. Councilwoman Peg Gilbert says they will look at the bigger picture and make sure they understand the consequences of their decisions.

"It's critical that we do the right thing for our past employees and our current employees going forward," said Gilbert.

One of the problems is funding. Council members say there isn't currently enough money in the police pension fund to pay their latest retiree.

"The police pension fund has basically been drained and the fire pension fund only has one person yet to use it and it has over $4 million in it currently," said Gilbert.

And that $4 million in fire reserves is being looked at very closely.

City Finance Director, Jaye Monter, says they will most likely seek a legal opinion at some point.

"We have to figure out where the cash is going to come from and we basically have two sources. We have general fund dollars or what we are investigating now is can we use the fire reserves, the excess funds in the fire reserves and it's our job to prove to council that we can," said Monter.

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