Tax increase may be needed to fund Carbondale pension deficit

They took an oath to protect and serve, and now a city council is asking to put a long-term price on the service firefighters and police officers provide to our communities.

$175,000, that’s the amount that Carbondale City Manager Kevin Beity says the city has to come up with to cover the pensions owed to their firefighters and police officers.

“It’s something that is mandated on us by the state, and we have to provide a certain level of pension funding each year in order to keep the pension itself fluent,” said Kevin Beity.

For taxpayers like Rebel Pinkston that’s a hard pill to swallow.

“The city of Carbondale has raised their taxes six times in the past five years,” said Rebel Pinkston. “When they decided to use property tax to finance police and fire pensions they had to have known that these pensions far out-creased inflation every year. So they will have to come to us every year asking for more money.”

Homeowners would see a $16 increase on their tax bill for a $100,000 home if city council approves the measure. If not, that money would come from cuts in other city services.

“That means there will be cuts in the general fund in other areas,” said Beity. “Whether that is in capital projects, people, or services that we provide those are all options that we will have to look at.”

“Other towns get by with far less,” said Pinkston. “I’m just curious as to why Carbondale needs so many police officers.”

The Carbondale City Council will make their final decision on the tax increase at their December 16th meeting.

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