The Morning Report
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It’s worth pointing out that on a day when many police department employees pleaded for their jobs, and the City Council considered $16 million in cuts to the department, the police budget is still projected to increase next year by $7.6 million.
It’s not just police. A dozen other departments supported by the day-to-day operating budget will see their budgets grow even though substantial cuts are coming.
So how is that possible?
Mayor Jerry Sanders’ budget proposal includes a footnote explaining that the increases come from a spike in pension and other post-employment benefit requirements.
For example, investment losses are forcing the city to make an additional one-time payment to the pension system this year.
City Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone explained that this cost will be spread among all the departments. Doing so, he added, could make it appear that individual departments are growing.
“When the reality,” Goldstone said, “is the only reason for that increase, or 90-plus percent of it, is because of the pension payment.”
In addition to police, budgets for the Business Office, City Auditor, City Clerk, City Planning and Community Investment, Engineering and Capital Projects, General Services, Office of Homeland Security, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of the Independent Budget Analyst, Office of the Mayor and Chief Operating Officer, Public Works and Water (Reservoir Recreation) are all increasing.
The police department, the city’s largest, has the greatest budget increase in dollars.