Memphis City Council Tackles Big Issues In Last Meeting Of 2013

(Memphis) Memphis City Council will have its last meeting of the year Tuesday before it breaks for the holidays, and it’s not just any ordinary meeting.

The city council is tackling one of the biggest issues it faces, one which no one seems to have an easy answer for — the pension problem.

Here’s how that problem shakes out:

The city claims the pension plan is underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars and is running out of money for retirees.

“When you guarantee certain payments and you have more and more employees who get those guaranteed payments it’s eventually going to run out of money,” said Councilman Jim Strickland.

Mayor A C Wharton wants to change that and says employees who aren’t already vested, or working in the city for ten years, should move to a 401k-type retirement that they pay into it every month.

“A pension guarantees you a certain percent of your salary for the rest of your life. A 401k puts your money in the investment market and you get whatever investment return you can get,” said Strickland.

After talking about it all year, the Council is finally debating different options.

But a decision still won’t be made till next year’s budget in June.

What won’t wait till June is the deal to buy AutoZone Park.

After saying the city must buy the ballpark by the end of the year the mayor now wants members to wait until January 7th.

He says it will give him a chance to answer their questions.

“The numbers weren’t quite right. It was a last-minute presentation. The council was being asked to make a major decision in a matter of a couple of hours and that`s simply not a position the council should have been in,” said Counilwoman Wanda Halbert.

Council members will meet in the chambers at City Hall at 3:30 Tuesday.