Letter to the mayor, City Council

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Dear Mayor and City Council, I again bring up a subject that has been discussed for a very long time with no visible action on your part. If I am wrong, please advise. At a City Council meeting last summer, this subject was brought up when Paul Joiner was mayor. The apparent understanding was that the subject would be brought up and voted on before the end of the year (2011). Why is this taking so long? What is the excuse now? I assume you want these benefits to be extended for the next term of council members. Roseville and Rocklin pay no benefits to their City Council who I believe earn $700 per month. When garbage workers were on strike, the city wanted them to pay more of their healthcare costs while, at the same time, we (Lincoln citizens) provide lifetime healthcare benefits to part-time City Council members after working 10 or is it five years? I do understand that Stan Nader and Gabriel Hydrick declined that benefit. Our city had in excess of $8.5 million in unfunded liability for healthcare benefits at July 1, 2009 per audited financial statements for year ended June 30, 2010. That liability had been increasing about $1 million per year, which means it could approximate $12 million this July 1. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road to let the next guy worry about it! What will it take to eliminate this benefit for council members? Or should we assume that City Council wants to keep this benefit for themselves while, at the same time, tell union employees they need to pay more? Have you ever heard of leadership by example? As a city, we need to eliminate lifetime healthcare benefits for all employees as many cities already have. We cannot afford it. It could cost Lincoln citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars for each City Council member who retires at 55 and lives until 80. Our fiscal sustainability committee has done an excellent job of reviewing city finances. I hope you all will consider the many recommendations and not just keep doing business as usual. I have read much of the professionally-prepared report and really applaud their efforts. David E. Masche, CPA, Lincoln