Fort Smith Directors Approve Budget Cuts, Funds Go To Pension Plans

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)–  City directors voted on an ordinance Tuesday (Aug. 18) that will cut $775,000 from some city departments to fund police and fire pensions, according to city director Kevin Settle.

The motion was passed unanimously.

According to Settle, the money will act as a solvent until next year. City directors will address FY2016 in the upcoming months.

The city directors were scheduled to vote on the ordinance last month, but tabled the item after reviewing different departments from which the money was coming.

Settle said the directors have reviewed the ordinance, made changes and are fully prepared to move forward with voting.

“It was a team effort by all department heads to go back,” said Settle. “The board asked to go back and look at general fund expenditures, and so all department heads went through there and made some budget cuts.”

Every city department that receives general funds made some kind of cut, but public transit is one city service that will have to make big changes.

The transit service will lose its routes to the Links apartments and Parrot Island Water Park.

“With the additional funding, we’ll be making some cuts to the routes and some other cuts,” Settle said. “It’s unfortunate, but we have to do what we can with our existing funds without overextending ourselves.”

Settle said the directors will review the budget every year and change things as they are needed.

“I think we’re always going to be looking at making cuts and our expenditures and how much the pension funding is happening and our general funds,” Settle said. “We only want to spend what we get in, so that’s what we’re looking at doing.”

The cuts will go into effect next month, according to settle.

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