There are 147 city employees who are actively participating in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, Moore said in a presentation, with annual contributions of employee and employer portions amounting to about $2.4 million.
As the discussion over the city’s finances took shape, the City Council voted 4-1 to fill several positions already budgeted but so far left unfilled and directed staff to look into alternate retirement systems in the Imperial Valley.
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Councilman Ryan Kelley was the sole dissenting vote against the motion to fill the positions, which included one police officer and a waste water treatment plant operator.
City Council member Sam Couchman said he doesn’t want to balance the budget “on the backs of employees,” but it was acknowledged during the special meeting that the city has tapped into its reserve fund by as much as $1.2 million in the current fiscal year.
Mayor Don Campbell said he doesn’t want anyone getting laid off in order to help close the gap but Moore reminded the entire council that there’s “never going to be a good time” in considering a reformation of the city’s pension system.
Moore alluded to the two-year transitional change El Centro enacted in its pension system. El Centro’s reform of its pension system has been met with strong opposition by some members of public safety.
Councilman George Nava noted how Measure K, the 4 percent utility users’ tax voters extended Nov. 8 for the next five years, will help Brawley maintain services like police, fire protection and others.
But Nava added that the city needs to take a closer look at its finances and “be responsible with the public’s money.”
Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at email@example.com