Letter to the Editor: City debt and employee pension costs presentations

At long last, Marco Island City Council gave the city debt and employee pension costs presentations.

In Florida state, Marco is highest in municipal debt burden per capita; three times Orlando, four times Tampa; second highest in municipal taxes and water sewer utility charges; highest for WSU debt.

Marco’s per capita debt is $13,300, while bankrupt Detroit, has only $14,700 debt per capita.

A typical city employee with annual compensation of $100,000, combined with three percent cost of living adjustment, and 300 hours of overtime. Unless my math is rusty it’s about $125,500 yearly.

Using these numbers at retirement after six years, the employee would receive $22,590 a year for the rest of his life. At nine years’ service, $33,885; at 20 years, $75,300, and at 25 years, $94,125.

Additionally, the fire department received $420,630 to be divided amongst them in fiscal year 2012.

I find all this, if not disgraceful, then certainly in poor judgment. Our military members who routinely suffer through several months’ long deployments away from home and loved ones, where they go to bed being shot at and wake up being shot at; or spend month after month several hundred feet under the oceans in defense of our country, do not qualify for these Cadillac retirement plans.

I know that being a fireman or policeman is dangerous, and I think our police and fire employees do a great job, but our compensation packages are way out of proportion.

Why did council wait until after the budget and the new contracts with the fire and police departments were approved?

Bill Harris

Marco Island

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Comments » 3

RayN writes:

States and municipalities MUST move away from defined benefit pension plans. The taxpayers can't be on the hook for huge unknown obligations.

The plans should be changed to defined contribution as soon as possible. Employees need to shoulder some of the burden of their retirement and states and local governments can make annual contributions to the tax deferred pension plans.

It will be unpopular, but it needs to be done. The city can buy itself out with making the first deposits into such accounts based on a method sort of like the current scheme.

Once done, there will be no more "unfunded pension obligations" -- ever.

gladesgator writes:

So true, just calculate the value of the pension and prorate it into the salary to get a real value of the benefit and one begins to realize that government jobs with all the security and ease inerrant is a real good gig.

Konfuzius writes:

It is so nice to be a city!

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