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City Council Discusses Sales Tax Increase

The city of Springfield may see a ballot come February 3, 2009, for a proposed increase on the city’s sales tax. The proposed increase is one cent on the dollar and would go directly to the Police and Fire Pension fund. KSMU’s Erika Brame attended last night’s meeting and files this report.
Springfield City Manager Greg Burris addressed City Council last night about a proposal to fund the Police and Fire Pension with a city sales tax increase.

He presented to the council and citizens a slide show detailing the pension deficit issue.

Burris crunched the numbers for council.

He said as of June 30th, the fund had about 116 million dollars.

Then he pointed out how much more is needed to meet the needs of the pension plan over the coming years.
“The difference between those two numbers is the 167 million that we’re under funded,” Burris said.
He explained how his proposed one cent sales tax increase would impact the pension fund.
“That would take, a one cent sales tax, it would take about 6-9 years, depending on what you estimate as the returns, to fully fund the plan, to get to 100 percent,” Burris said.

The fund provides retirement plans for police and fire personal.

Burris says this proposed tax will “sunset,” which means it will end at a determined point.
“Is that we would sunset this when one of two things occurs, either the plan becomes 100 percent funded or five years, whichever comes first,” Burris said.

He also mentioned increasing the city’s contribution to the fund as part of the proposal.

A hand full of citizens voiced concerns about the language of the bill.

They say the bill, as it now reads, does not obligate the city to contribute its proposed added share.

This bill and two other major bills read last night will go to vote in two weeks.

The other two proposed bills focused on the center city of downtown Springfield.

One bill proposes a curfew of 11 p.m. on Park Central Square every night but New Year’s Eve and specially permitted events.

The second bill proposes a noise permit for downtown venues.

For more information about all three bills you can visit our website: KSMU dot ORG.

For KSMU News, I’m Erika Brame.