One alderman is already a no vote on the Mayor's proposed budget, even if the plan addresses a chief concern. Alderman Joe McMenamin says the plan needs to be more aggressive in funding police and fire pensions.
Mayor Mike Houston's proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 increases payments to the pension funds by one million dollars, but McMenamin says that is not enough. In a statement, McMenamin also says he will continue to vote no on future union contracts that do not include wage freezes. The ward 7 alderman has been calling for the expected rate of return for pension fund investments to be brought down to 5.5 percent. Houston says dropping it that low so rapidly would increase the city's financial obligation and cut into vital city services.
Houston says he plans to slowly lower the rate of return over the next few years to allow the city to better fund its obligation. The new budget has to be approved by the end of February.