Salem City Council Approves Big Hike in Contribution to Police Pension Fund
City Is Following State Guidelines in Hopes of Not Having to Make Even Greater Contributions in the Future
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Salem City Hall

The Salem City Council has approved more than tripling this year's contribution to the Police Pension Fund to meet the minimum requirement.

The council will place the dictated $529,087 in the fund, well over the $150,000 that was budgeted. The rest of the funding will come from $162,000 in video gaming revenue and $217,087 in a general fund transfer.

The council also passed a resolution to have 75-percent of the revenue from the video game taxes be dedicated to the police pension fund. They will also look at dedicating all of the increase received from the consumer price index on property taxes to the pension fund.

Councilman Nic Farley made the motion to dedicate the use of the video gaming taxes. When Councilman Sue Morgan said she didn't like the idea, Farley said he didn't either but he felt it would be helpful if the city could show they had developed a stream of revenue to make up the shortfall in the police pension fund.

Mayor Rex Barbee also favored the increased funding.

"These numbers we know we can do without a negative impact on the city's operations this year. I think that is why these numbers have been proposed," said Barbee.

"And without raising taxes or fees on taxpayers," Councilman Tim Hudspeth added.

"I know it seems like a large number, but I think it is realistic," Barbee concluded.

The only no vote on both issues came from councilman Craig Morton. He favored a gradual increase in funding for the pension fund.

The gaming tax money had originally been set aside to complete special projects that regular budget money was not available.

In other action, the council approved a two-cent tax being placed on the property tax bill to support the Bryan Bennett Library building. The rest of the tax levy was reviewed, but no action was taken.

The council approved a $70,300 bid from Livesay Electric to install a new Generac Generator at the Water Treatment Plant.

A yield sign was approved for traffic on Lakeview Drive where it crosses Circle Drive. There was no traffic control at the intersection in the past.

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