This week, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen will begin consideration of the budget proposed for next year. It is a large and complex document that reflects a hundred financial realities. Decisions made by the Board on this budget will affect every resident and business, just as the decisions in other years have changed "what" and "how much" city departments can do.
The Board will also consider a new, fair, and less costly retirement system for firefighters .
These should not be unrelated discussions.
We are about as close to bare bones budgeting as we can get. And we have deferred as many major expenditures as we responsibly can. Given the cuts already made in prior budget years, savings from significant pension reform right now are only ways to restore funding to other key programs and departments.
I am working with aldermen now to use some of the money saved from pension reform to restore funding for other important priorities. I also support using savings from the firefighters' retirement system to hire police officers, and restore cuts to affordable housing programs, derelict building demolition, and crime prevention.
Pension reform is a hard choice for some aldermen ' and for their president. Postponing (and its cousin, pretending) are easier. If you wish to join this discussion, contact your alderman. This link will take you to their information. http://stlouis-mo.gov/government/elected-officials.cfm