Council seeks state funding for fire, police pension

The Marshalltown City Council has proposed a resolution that would implore the state help fund police and fire pensions.

The topic came up in the fall during a presentation from legislators Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, and Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center.

Randy Wetmore, city administrator, said Muscatine passed a similar resolution, and the city’s support would show state legislators that Marshalltown is serious about wanting the state to return to contributing to the retirement program. The resolution shows that the issue is pertinent and that the city would like to see some action on it this year.

“It may help reduce or at least mitigate some of our increases at the local level,” he said.

Mayor Tommy Thompson said keeping the issue in front of legislators will help remind them of the effect the program has on local budgets.

The finance department projects the city’s mandatory contribution to the police and fire pensions to increase nearly $163,000 for this fiscal year. The contributions will exceed $1.2 million, an increase of $613,000 since fiscal year 2009/2010.

The resolution stipulates that the city supports a senate study bill that calls for the return of a 3.79 percent of the covered earnable wages of those in the pension system.

The resolution passed unanimously.

On a similar note, the Marshalltown Fire Chief present the department’s annual report to the council.

Marshalltown Fire Chief Steve Edwards said two things the fire department can hang its hat on are that it improved its loss ratio and, perhaps most importantly, there were no fire deaths in 2012.

“Which is something we strive for,” he said.

According to the report, the Fire Marshal’s assessment of the percent of property saved increased from 76.5 percent to 94.88 percent in 2012. The percent is figured by comparing how much property was on fire, excluding property exposed to potential loss, to how much property firefighters saved.

Calls for service were the second highest in 10 years, the report shows.

The council also passed a resolution prohibiting parking on Anson Circle Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. That ordinance would go into effect after publication on or around April 1, Wetmore said.

Tom Clemons, of Marshalltown, said he fails to see the ordinance’s necessity. It targets high school students, and he said the ordinance change goes against the Not In Our Town effort, effectively bullying them by restricting their ability to park in the circle.

“I realize this is probably irritating to the residents of the circle, but it doesn’t really merit an ordinance by the city,” he said.