The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 31, 2013

City contribution to fire, police retirement funds increasing

With increase, contributions will total more than $1.16 million each year

OTTUMWA — The city must increase its contributions to police and fire retirement funds next year, throwing more than $1 million into the fund.

Finance Director Bob Jay said the city’s contributions to the Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa (MFPRSI) will increase from 26 percent in fiscal year 2013 to 30 percent in fiscal year 2014.

Councilman Jeremy Weller previously told the Courier that he has concerns about how much the city must contribute to MFPRSI.

“The city is responsible for all 4 percent of that increase,” Weller said.

For example, if an officer makes $50,000 a year, the city must start contributing $15,000 into his retirement fund every year starting on July 1.

Take that times 41 police officers and 32 firefighters, and the city’s contribution will total more than $1.16 million every year starting on July 1.

“That’s a big chunk of money every year,” Weller said. “Maybe the contribution should be equal ... if they raise it 4 percent, let the employee take on some of that burden, also.”

The rate structure is determined by Iowa Code Chapter 411, which states that its Board of Trustees — which is comprised of firefighters, police officers, city treasurers, city financial officers, city clerks and citizens — determines the contribution rates.

“The rate specified for the employees is set by the statute, currently at 9.4 percent of earnable compensation. The rate for the employer is established each year by the Board of Trustees following the completion of the annual actuarial valuation,” according to the MFPRSI.

According to the code, the city’s contribution rate can never drop below 17 percent, and the employee’s contribution rate can never exceed 11.35 percent.

Of the 40 percent of the employee’s retirement fund not paid by the state, 76 percent of that has to come from the city of Ottumwa.

This money is generated through the Trust and Agency tax levy, he said, which was kept flat this year at 7.053 cents.

“My intent was not to increase that this year and we were able to do that,” Jay said. “We’re in good shape for that. But we can’t do it continuously because costs are going up.”

While he said the city was able to keep this tax levy rate stable, the city still needs to be responsible since MFPRSI is “a big part of compensation for these employees that they rely on.

“But we don’t — I don’t — want to pass that on to taxpayers,” he said. “I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do.”

In fiscal year 2013, the city contributed $554,776 to the police retirement fund and $423,935 to fire.

The police contribution does not include civilians who work for the department; they are covered by IPERS.

In fiscal year 2014, the city has budgeted to contribute $646,796 to police and $514,266 to fire. That’s a more than $180,000 increase from the previous year.

“Those rates are set by somebody else other than us and we had to comply with them,” Jay said.

Gov. Terry Branstad recently told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that he would be interested in increasing what police officers and firefighters contribute to the fund.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • OHS events called off Thursday OTTUMWA – What was supposed to be a busy night for Ottumwa athletics on Thursday turned into a very light and very wet night around the City of Bridges. Five Ottumwa Community School District athletic events, including the school’s elementary track m

    April 24, 2014

  • A downtown garden OTTUMWA — Not everyone who lives in the downtown business district has the space to grow their own garden. But a local nonprofit group decided they had some extra room. They recently moved into a new building on Main Street. "We wanted to do somethin

    April 24, 2014

  • OTT 0425 Job Fair photo -T -M Face to face OTTUMWA — People were at tables, leaning against poles, even using the small stage as a desk at the IowaWorks Southern Iowa Job Fair. They were filling out employment applications. The job fair is a better way to do that than sitting at a computer, s

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hoping for riche$ — Part 4

    OTTUMWA — $6.6 million was spent in Wapello County in lottery ticket sales in 2013. Since 2003, the amount of money spent on lottery tickets by local residents has grown by more than $2 million. If statistics are correct, the number of lottery ticket

    April 24, 2014 3 Stories

  • 0425 OTT Five Things logo -L -T -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's no excuse for staying indoors this weekend. From a night on the town to plays to a day learning about healthy living, you'll find a reason to be out and about in southeast Iowa. 1. Ladies Night Out will give you an opportunity to vi

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0425 OTT Fairfest 14 color photo -L -T -M 'Bigger and better' for FAIRfest '14 FAIRFIELD — With the theme of "bigger and better," Fairfield's annual free music and more festival has released the lineup for this year's FAIRfest '14. More than 6,000 people attended last year's three-day weekend of fabulous free music, and organiz

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0425 OTT Food bank donation color photo -L -T -M Food Bank of Southern Iowa receives $1,100 'Stump the Chumps' donation OTTUMWA — The Food Bank of Southern Iowa was the big winner in KIIC Radio’s sixth annual “Stump the Chumps” NCAA basketball championship contest in March and early April. Thunder Country 96.7-FM in Albia along with contest sponsor Community 1st Credi

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0425 OTT eagle stock photo Mahaska Co. man accused of killing bald eagle NEW SHARON — A Mahaska County man faces federal charges after allegedly beating a bald eagle to death and decapitating it. Jason John Thomas was arrested in New Sharon after being indicted by a federal grand jury. He is accused of killing the eagle i

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction color photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday

    OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition