REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Bellevue makes needed cuts

The city of Bellevue is looking in every direction to save money and its latest move is to consider eliminating the city's pension pickup for its non-union employees. If approved, this move would end the city's contribution of 10 percent of each employee's salary into a pension fund for all of its supervisors and elected and appointed officials.
Commentary
May 6, 2010

The city of Bellevue is looking in every direction to save money and its latest move is to consider eliminating the city's pension pickup for its non-union employees. If approved, this move would end the city's contribution of 10 percent of each employee's salary into a pension fund for all of its supervisors and elected and appointed officials. Public employees are required to contribute the 10 percent to the plan, but Bellevue has been picking up the tab for years.

Councilman Sherrard Barr said he's not happy about the changes, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Desperate times, indeed. Even with the pension contribution cuts, the city is only expected to save $300,000, but that is a step in the right direction for a city budget reeling in the red.

Still, not everyone's happy about the move. As Jeff Crosby, the city's safety services director pointed out, non-union employees were given the 10 percent contribution perk in lieu of pay raises years ago.

While this essentially results in a "pay cut" that seems unfair to some, from our point of view its better than the layoffs that are inevitably coming in communities like Bellevue all across the Firelands region. We applaud the Bellevue City Council for finding a way to move ahead in tighter times while keeping people employed. It's aggressive action that's going to make a difference without cutting jobs or services.

The city's firefighters union recently agreed to concessions that included giving up the employer-paid pension contributions until 2012. Now it's up to the city to convince the police union and service department union to follow suit.