South Miami

Letter: New South Miami employees in retirement system could cost $38M over 30 years

Regarding Alex Butler’s article published in the Neighbors section on 9-17-15:

I spoke first at the public hearing on two issues. First, I stated that there was nothing wrong with the commission using a lower [tax] rate than they advertised. Second, I addressed the commission on the line item, identifying an amount of $205,000, which would pay for placing new city hires in the FRS (Florida Retirement System). In reality the pension actuary estimated that the total cost to place police and general employee new hires in the FRS would be $38 million over the next 30 years. This amount is over and above the cost of the current pension and that could cripple the city financially. The $205,000 would just be the down payment.

As I sat down, Commissioner Josh Liebman chastised me regarding lowering the tax rate as the amount would be an insignificant amount going back to residents. It wasn’t until Commissioner Gabriel Edmond spoke and identified specific line items to lower the tax rate that Liebman jumped on the band wagon using a specific rate reduction. Commissioner Edmond deserves the kudos for guarding our tax dollars!

Additionally, I’d like to remind Mayor [Philip] Stoddard regarding the hearing being low key, with only three citizens showing up. Last year there was only one city resident that attended the first budget hearing and spoke. That person was me.

Bradley Cassel, South Miami

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