There will be no money set aside to pay for the future costs of city retirees’ health benefits, after a tied vote by the Lodi City Council on Wednesday.
According to a recent report, the city is about $3 million behind on saving up for increasing costs of health care benefits for a certain pool of current and future retirees. Council members considered a resolution to earmark about $700,000 to use next time the bill comes due for those benefits.
The money comes from refunds from San Joaquin County on overpaid property tax administrative fees.
With the addition of some funds from city departments, the total would reach nearly $1 million, or a third of what’s owed.
The council was torn between the prudence of setting money aside for the future, and a reluctance to isolate funds that could go to current projects in need.
“Everybody has a house payment. Do you have the money in the bank to pay off the mortgage? No. But as long as you have a job, you can make the payment,” said Councilman Phil Katzakian.
“But setting the money aside is like creating the bank account you might use to pay that mortgage,” said City Manager Rad Bartlam. “It doesn’t come close to fully funding (it). But it begins to show that we are cognizant that we have a liability and are taking a small step.”
Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce said it is key to follow the advice of auditors, who recommend the money be set aside.
The final vote was 2-2, with Katzakian and Nakanishi voting against, and the resolution did not pass. Councilman Bob Johnson was not present.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.