Letters + Opinion » Mailbox

It's the Pensions, Stupid

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The letter from John Dillon (Mailbox, Aug. 6) presents an accurate assessment of the significant level of crime in Eureka. The business I work at has had its share of vandalism and break-ins, plus two armed robberies. Please read current headlines for the latest on crime in Eureka.

Mr. Dillon ends his letter with, "and while we're at it Einstein, let's defund the police." The Einsteins at Eureka City Hall have been cutting funding from EPD for quite some time while spending a significant amount of money paying down unfunded pension liability. In 2015, Eureka cut $834,000 from EPD funding and spent $921,000 on pension debt. In 2020, EPD saw a $900,000 budget cut and lost six staff positions, including four officers, as Eureka spent $5.7 million on pension debt. Since 2016, EPD has seen a 19 percent reduction in full time positions. Since 2015, Eureka has spent $21.5 million on pension debt.

These yearly pension debt payments will increase from $6 million in 2021 to $9.1 million in 2031, and will continue until the year 2038. The total amount projected to be spent from 2015 to 2038 to retire this pension debt is currently listed as $134 million ($134,000,000).

Given its overall economic situation, there is no doubt Eureka needs this tax increase to provide services. Questions arise. How much of this $9.6 million tax will go to services and how much will be spent on pension debt payments? Given that these pension debt payments are increasing, where will Eureka's finances be in seven to 10 years?

I wish the city of Eureka well, but given the COVID-19 tax revenue decrease and these pension debt payments, it seems city officials are a bit overexuberant in extolling the increase in services to be provided by this new tax.

Patrick Cloney, Eureka


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