Retirement costs for St. Louis police officers are poised to rise by a record $8 million this coming fiscal year, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That leaves the Board of Police Commissioners with at least a $3 million shortfall in the department’s $168 million budget. Some fear such a gap could lead to salary cuts, benefit cost increases or even officer layoffs.
The staff of Mayor Francis Slay, who sits on the police board, said layoffs should be the last resort. There is still plenty of time for the board, the chief and the city to deal with the shortfall. The mayor’s office is meeting with the union, the police board, and the pension system to come up with solutions. The shortfall came to light in an actuarial report on the Police Retirement System of St. Louis. Actuaries told the system’s board that costs to city taxpayers would need to grow by $8 million this coming year, plus an additional $6 million next year.