The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

October 22, 2012

Joplin City Council approves source of pension payment; $1 million to be paid into fund from public safety surplus

The Joplin City Council voted Monday night to make a $1 million contribution to the Joplin Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund from a surplus in the public safety sales tax fund.

A work session on the matter was held at the request of Councilman Morris Glaze.

Glaze last week made a motion to amend the city’s budget ordinance so that the contribution could not be made until the council had an opportunity to discuss the source of the funds. He withdrew the motion, but the work session was scheduled in response to his concern.

He said after last week’s meeting that he was not opposed to making the contribution to the ailing pension plan, but he questioned whether the contribution should come from the general fund instead of the public safety surplus.

City Finance Director Leslie Jones made a presentation to the council Monday night about the status of the funding ratio in the pension plan and why it is declining.

The pension fund over time could owe as much as $68.4 million in benefits but has a current balance of investments of about $28 million.

The fund had been operating for several years on outdated assumptions on the number of retirements, rates of pay and other factors. They combined with lackluster investment returns and double the number of retirements, causing the funding ratio to dip from 59 percent to 53 percent, the council was told. That, in turn, will push up the amount of money the city must contribute to try to stop the decline of the funding ratio.

City Manager Mark Rohr proposed the lump-sum $1 million contribution to try to reduce the increases in the city’s contribution rate, Jones told the council. The city this year must pay an amount equal to 30.5 percent of the amount of payroll for the police and fire departments. Jones said a study of the proposal suggests that with the extra contribution, that rate could go to about 1 percent in the upcoming decade while increasing the funding ratio to around 75 percent.

Glaze and Mayor Pro Tem Bill Scearce said they wanted to make the contribution, but they wanted to know whether it should come from the public safety fund. They were told that the city attorney had advised that it is legal under the ballot language, which included allocations to personnel expenses as one use for the tax money. Voters approved the half-cent sales tax in 2006.

Several members of the city’s Sales Tax Oversight Committee attended the session. Some members of that group had questioned three years ago whether there was public disclosure by the city that a $950,000 lump-sum payment to the pension fund came from the sales tax money instead of the general fund.

A member of that oversight committee who promoted the sales tax measure in 2006 told the council, “I think it is legal to dip into it, but I have to ask: Is it proper?” He said he did not want to sign off on something that was contrary to what voters were told six years ago when he helped lead an effort to pass the tax.

Oversight committee member Tom Franz said he would not wish to jeopardize future tax questions if the voters thought the city had not stayed with the representations made in 2006.

Rohr said voters have since supported a renewal of the sales tax for parks and stormwater projects.

“If we move ahead, I want to be as transparent as possible with the voters,” he said, asking that the city publish information about the transaction and why it was done.

There was controversy three years ago over whether the city clearly disclosed to the public that a $950,000 payment came from the sales tax fund instead of the general fund.

Councilman Jack Golden said, “The general fund is going to have more demands on it,” with the city growing. “You have to be very careful” about spending from the general fund, which must cover the costs of that growth.

Councilman Benjamin Rosenberg made a motion to allow the transaction from the public safety fund, and it was approved 8-1, with Glaze voting against it.

Text Only
Local News
  • Former Webb City teacher charged with sexual contact with student

    A former Webb City High School choir teacher was charged Tuesday in Jasper County Circuit Court with having sexual contact with a student. According to a probable-cause statement, Carrie Njoroge, 30, of Oronogo, had consensual sexual intercourse with an 18-year-old male student in her office at Webb City High School during the evening hours of April 15.

    April 23, 2014

  • Carthage Council reorganizes

    The Carthage City Council has one new member after Paul McCoy was sworn in Tuesday as 2nd Ward councilman. Oaths of office also were repeated by Mayor Mike Harris, and Councilmen Lee Carlson, Jason Shelfer, Kirby Newport and Brady Beckham, all re-elected in city balloting on April 8. Councilman Dan Rife was re-elected as mayor pro tem.

    April 23, 2014

  • New Powell bridge to open today

    Great River Associates engineer Spencer Jones, of Springfield, is planning a final inspection of the new Powell bridge on Cowan Road off Route E, to be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3 p.m. today. The initial cost for the bridge was put at $800,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Spring a great time to visit Carver monument

    It occurred to me when the woman passed me — for the second time — as I ambled along the walking trail at George Washington Carver National Monument that perhaps I should step up the pace of my amble. The only problem is, the walking trail at the monument isn’t a place that necessarily inspires a stepped-up amble. To me, the Carver monument is a place to linger.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Season opens Friday for Carthage Art Walk

    Art, music and other activities are scheduled Friday when a new season of the Carthage Art Walk opens on the courthouse square. Displays and programs set for 6 to 9 p.m. will showcase galleries, artists, restaurants and shops. Special events will feature a timed painting and a demonstration of an 1896 printing press.

    April 23, 2014

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3M plant expansion to create 22 jobs

    An $18.7 million expansion at the 3M Co. manufacturing plant in Nevada will create 22 new jobs, a company official said Wednesday. “We started 43 years ago as a small manufacturer,” said Todd Cantrell, plant manager, in a meeting with employees. “We are now the largest 3M plant in the state of Missouri and one of the largest of all 3M plants.”

    April 23, 2014

  • Nixon: Tax-cut bill holds fatal flaw; area lawmakers say stance totally false

    Another year has brought yet another tax-cut fight between Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led Missouri General Assembly, and on Tuesday, Nixon announced that he had found what he sees as a fatal flaw.

    April 22, 2014

Must Read


A Missouri Senate committee has adopted a state budget provision that would prevent public colleges and universities from offering in-state tuition rates to students living in the country illegally. Do you agree with this?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter