Hollywood city employees and residents met Monday night, before the city commissioners, to learn what would happen if a referendum did not pass. This referendum concerns the $38 million gap in the cities budget for employees pensions. Officials said if the referendum did not pass, they would have to fire up to 170 city workers.
Representatives of police and firefighters claim the city has mismanaged funds. “The city clearly is mismanaged: $14 million for WiFi, $7.2 million for a fire station on the beach when there’s one a mile and a half down the road,” said Senior VP of Police Benevolent Association, Jeff Marano.
The city is contractually obligated to fund the employee pension fund. Tax revenue is down for the year, creating a budget shortfall. The city employees are feeling the brunt of this shortfall. The city must fund the pension plan by whatever means it can. Cutting city employees is the only way it can do that.
If the city and the employee union can come to some arrangement, this coming disaster can be avoided. If not the referendum will give the city the power to modify the pension system the city now employs.
Hollywood Professional Firefighters President Dan Martinez said,” Our pension plan now, it needs help. It needs work, and we’re willing to do that, but we want to do it in an environment that is conducive to good faith bargaining.” In two weeks Hollywood residents will vote to reduce police, firefighter and city employees’ pensions. This vote will not only decide the city employees pension future but set a precedent on how local cities will have to fund pensions.
Taxpayers are tired of paying large amount of taxes in a down economy, they just can’t afford it any longer. The city employees are going to be forced to fund their own pensions out of their own pocket from now on. The days of government big spending are over. Cities and states are going to have to learn to spend less and live within it’s means just like it’s citizen have to do.
If the parties do not strike a deal, Hollywood residents will vote on a referendum to modify pensions in the city on Sept. 13.
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