This City Refuses To Find Out How Much Money It Owes

See no evil/hear no evil/speak no evil

Colorado Springs is no stranger to budget woes. Facing a $38 million shortfall in 2010, the city was forced to lay off firefighters and policemen, cut public transportation, privatize the sanitation department and stop paving roads. The city even turned off one third of its streetlights.

Now Colorado Springs owes money to its public employee pensions but City Council wants to find out how much.

Indeed, the council recently rejected a proposal to determine the city’s pension obligations, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

Opponents questioned the need for a pension review since municipal contributions to PERA, Colorado’s public employee pension system, are determined by the state.

“The only point of knowing this information is being able to budget for it,” said Councilman Randy Purvis.

PERA is only part of the pension picture in Colorado Springs. Public safety workers’ pensions are not covered under the system and represent a much greater cost to the city, said Mayor Lionel Rivera, who was in favour of the review. Knowing the extent of the combined obligations, he said, can help the city cope with its budget situation in the future.

For now, however, it looks like Colorado Springs council members are content to keep the city in the dark.

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