Polls

Should the Basehor City Council approve a proposal to cut employee benefits by about $81,000?

Response Percent Votes
Yes
 
70% 177
No
 
29% 73
Total 250

Comments

Dennis Mertz 2 years, 9 months ago

One thing that is not in the article and may help citizens understand my plan is that I can not find any other City that pays 14.57% for deferred compensation to City employee's (non-police) in the state of Kansas.

Several years ago the past Basehor City Council made a choice give the same amount in a 401A equivalent to that in which was paid to KP&F for the police officers. This amount was approx 6% at the time. Over the last 6-7 years the KP&F (Defined Benefit) has not had enough money to pay the pensions of retiring officers across the State. This has caused KP&F to raise rates constantly to more than double just a few years ago. This does not mean our officer will get a larger pension. It simply means all Kansas City's have to pay more to keep the retirement system going.

In the meantime we have let the non-police rate that is matched to 14.57% and was proposed to go to 16.52% for 2012. Wyandotte County (UG), Shawnee, Eudora, Gardner, Tonganoxie, Lansing, Leavenworth and almost every City in Kansas pays 7.34% base rate to KPERS (Defined benefit). So why should Basehor be more than double than any other City? This is why I want to change it.

After my presentation at the budget meeting, the City staff has tried to make their own resolution which freezes the rate. This is still double other City's and in my opinion, not good enough.

When it comes to health insurance, I do not see why the public sector would get 100% of their health insurance paid via the tax payers when I and almost everyone I know has to pay a portion of their own. City's such as Lansing, Mission, Salina, Shawnee, Overland Park and Gardner to name a few have changed their contribution levels and now have employee's pick up a portion of the health insurance cost of the employee.

In talking with Lisa Toyne with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, she stated to me the majority of City's in Kansas have started making employee's pick up more of the cost. She said that the biggest trend is for City's to pay 100% for the employee and nothing for dependents. Basehor currently pays 50% of dependents which my plan does not change that. In fact, I am only looking to recoup 25% of the employee cost only. This will save over $30,000 a year and is only a portion of the $159,000 we pay currently.

If anyone would like to look at the facts then please call me or stop by my office and I can make you a copy of supporting documents or email me. These are my views and may not be the view of other Council Members or the Mayor.

Sincerely,

Dennis Mertz

Council President, City of Basehor 2620 N. 155th Street PO Box 406 Basehor, KS 66007

913-724-4600 Work 913-449-7000 Cell 913-724-1993 Home mertz@cityofbasehor.org

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masterstream 2 years, 9 months ago

Nice way to reward your city employees for all the hard work they provide to us citizens. Lets cut their benefits.

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beatlefan 2 years, 9 months ago

Could not agree more with masterstream! Those employees work VERY hard for the city.

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basehorlinwoodbob 2 years, 9 months ago

It looks like Mr. Potato Head must have his Weeble Wobble children and their friends voting with their bedazzled cell phones.

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ClarkKent 2 years, 9 months ago

It looks as if the City employees are getting a larger percentage for their retirement than those other cities being mentioned. (Assuming that his figures are correct.) My question to Dennis would be: Is the hourly pay for our city employees comparable to those cities you are choosing to compare with?

I would also like to ask if this proposal is going to reduce our mill levy? If not, then it appears that as a council member you are really delving into an area that should be handled by our city staff or the entire city council, not an individual council member.

On a personal note, I've never had a job that reduced my pay or benefits without some other consideration being given.

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pigpot 2 years, 7 months ago

Clark, your answer is NO they aren't. The starting wage is comparable, but the increases and room for advancement is not.

They keep taking things away that make it worth staying. It's unfortunate because the city employees some very fantastic hard working individuals.

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Dennis Mertz 2 years, 9 months ago

ClarkKent,

There is a reason why I feel like we need to cut budget items. Not only the obvious reason of the runaway deferred compensation due to it being paired to KP&F but also the fact that we are taking money from other funds to pay the increased employee pay and benefits. If the Mill levy is not going up then where do you think the extra money is coming from? We are pulling from funds such as the "Capital Improvement Fund" which had a revenue of $288,778.00 in 2010. Now we have transferred these revenue's to the general fund to help with employee cost increase. This fund's revenue decreased about $220,000 and the General fund increased by the same. As far as I know, we have never "robbed Peter to pay Paul" in this City. Why did we start? It leave the "Capital Improvement Fund" with a small revenue of $65,000 now. Nice!

The "Capital Improvement Fund" is to pay for "tangible" items that the tax payer can see, touch or feel. I am sorry but this is a responsible move, not a greedy one.

The City of Basehor is not in a financial crises but we need to be fiduciary responsible and I believe that is the reason I was elected. If we don't change things now then we will be in trouble later.

I am the one proposing the plan. The Council will make the decision on which way to go. My plan may not pass and we might be in trouble next year. This is not the only item that I would like to change but the first. Next is spending hundreds of dollars a month on food at nice restaurants such as Jazz, Longhorn Steakhouse and Falcon lakes golf course for $510.00.

I do value the City employee's but at some point who is going to be the bad guy that corrects the wrong? Or do we turn our heads while cost goes up in 2012?

I almost forgot to address the other City's pay. I think we are comparable to City's of our size. We are not in Johnson County and do not get the 7 figure tax revenue to pay high rates but in the last 4-5 years the police officers have gone from $11.01 per hour to $16 and over. I think we have made progress. I believe 45% increase in a few years is incredible.

Dennis

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FifthDegreeInSight 2 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Mertz has taken a correct and courageous stand in these issues on behalf of the taxpaying citizens of Basehor - It is time for those citizens who want efficient and economical government to show the governing body that's what we want by showing up at council meetings and speakiing in support of what Dennis is trying to do.

For ClarkKent - a number of years ago city employees were paid less than the private sector and comparable sized cities - however, that is not the case today - not only are hourly wages now above private sector wages for similar jobs and qualifications but when all the fringes are considered our city employees are paid approximately 40% more than they would get in the private sector.

For the two city employees who posted under beatlefan and masterstream, "Nice Try!!"

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pigpot 2 years, 7 months ago

I do not believe that reducing the benefits is going to do anything other than force current city employees to leave. Why is there so many chiefs and no enough indians.

Let it be known that currently the city of basehor is losing employees left and right.
This is because people are getting better opportunities, better wages, and better benefits. But for those who stay, should they be challenged to find another position as well because you want to take away their lively hood? You act as if the police here get paid rediculously large amounts of money. The PD is ALWAYS floating under what the current budget it. You keep cutting the PD money, and they ALWAYS make due with what they are given. They are VERY VERY good at what they do.

Why risk losing what you have just to save the 10,000 a year or even 100,000 a year. The city has more than enough money to substantiate the benefits. It has, always has. I know for a FACT what the wages are of the executives in the city. ONE SALARY ALONE would cover the premiums for the insurance. Way to stiff the blue man. The little man who is protecting the citizens? The girls that work in the front office for 13.00 an hour? Is it really right to take something away from them when you haven't given the police department a FAIR raise in several years? The income they recieve now is OKAY considering the surrounding areas, and Chief has worked VERY HARD to make it that way. The only increase they have seen was the TINY and when I say tiny, i mean TINY increase which amounted to around 20 dollars a week. That gives them 1600 a month IF that take home pay to support their families. That will not even come close to meeting the 25% you expect the employees to pay for their benefits. If you aren't going to pay the officers what they are worth, you HAVE to make it worth SOMETHING for them to come here and stay. To have GOOD OFFICERS, you get what you pay for. If you aren't going to pay well, your going to end up placing the city on hands you don't want protecting it. Chief Martley, LT, SGT's, those are the people it's going to boil down to when it all comes to it because I can GUARENTEE no one will stay long when you start cutting into their benefits.

I LOVE the city, I love the employees, but I HATE the fact that they are taking away something that made it worth being there. But I guess you have to do what you have to do, and I can respect that aspect.

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pigpot 2 years, 7 months ago

And what is 30,000 a year when the city clerk makes DOUBLE what a waste water treatment plant worker makes? Are you going to make him pay his benefits too?

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