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Right as the City Council was approving the contract Mayor Jerry Sanders struck with the police officers union last night, City Attorney Mike Aguirre opined that the deal was illegal.

Aguirre claimed the 9-percent pay raise for cops broke the debt-limit law, because the city had not yet identified a stream of money to pay for the $29 million that will be added to the city’s pension deficit because of the raise. The city and state law prohibits the city from spending more money than it reaps in a year without a public vote.

The city attorney has used tried to use the law to attack nearly $900 million worth of pension benefits created since 1996. He was been barred from using that argument after a Superior Court judge ruled the city and not the pension board created that debt. Whether or not the city violated the laws has never been decided by a court.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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