Representatives from the city of Sheridan brought several topics before local legislators Wednesday at the Legislative Forum, chief of which were concerns about employee pension plans and a report on proposed projects for the city in coming years.
City Clerk Scott Badley addressed several pending financial concerns for the city, focusing on the likelihood that the city and its employees will have to contribute additional funds to pension plans, which are underfunded.
Already, the city has to pay $300,000 over the next 10 years into Fire Plan A – which is for firefighters employed before 1981 – to accommodate a plan that is underfunded at 71 percent. It is possible Fire Plan B – for firefighters employed after 1981 – will also require additional city funds, but that has not been determined yet.
Public pension plans for employees who are not in law enforcement or fire safety are underfunded at 78 percent, and the state has increases planned to get those plans fully funded that could impact the city, Badley said.
Badley urged legislators to not place undue burden on cities that are already strapped financially to solve the pension funding crisis and to look at options that include state contributions and provide plenty of time to reach a solution.
Public Works Director Nic Bateson outlined key upcoming projects for the city. These included work on Illinois Street to involve new utility lines and street reconstruction; continued reconstruction in the Wyoming and Park streets area near Sheridan Avenue; and a dual Wyoming Department of Transportation and city of Sheridan project to reconstruct the Lewis Street bridge and turn Alger Avenue into a cul de sac adjacent to Lewis Street.
Police Chief Rich Adriaens highlighted the success of the Tipsy Taxi program. He also handed out some paperwork on legalizing marijuana in Wyoming.
“My belief is we need to educate ourselves on this, make sure we make the right choice for our citizens because it will ultimately be their choice,” Adriaens said.
Adriaens noted after the presentation that he simply wanted to give the legislators something to think about rather than dominate the city’s time slot with a discussion of legalizing marijuana.