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May 17, 1979 - Image 16

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-05-17

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Page 16--Thursday, May 17, 1979--The Michigan Daily
City pension fund deficit may increase

Ann Arbor will owe its pension fund
about $180,000 this year if City Council
approves the city's 1979-80 budget as
proposed, City Controller Mary Devers
revealed last night.
If the city does not take action to
revise the budget now, it will fall behind
on payments to the fund at a greater
rate each year, Devers told City Coun-
"THE SORT OF snapshot picture
you're getting now is not that
disastrous," Devers said. "The thing
that is alarming is that we are begin-
ning to fall behind and the amount that
we're falling behind is increasing."
Devers spoke last night before a City
Council working session on the
proposed $43.8 million 1979-80 city
The city's pension fund covers all city
employees except those in the Solid
Waste Department, which has its own
pension plan.
Dissertation noted
A University doctoral dissertation
has received the "Dissertation of the
Year" award from the Association for
the Study of Higher Education.
Kenneth Orr, president of the
Presbyterian School of Christian
Education (PSCE), was honored April
18 at the Association's annual meeting
in Washington, D.C., for his research
titled "The Impact of the Depression
Years, 1929-1939, on Faculty in
American Colleges and Universities."
Orr received his Ph.D. last spring
from the Center for the Study of Higher
Education in the University School of
Education. President of PSCE since
1974, he will become president of
Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C.
July 1.

THE CITY'S pension plan currently
has assets of $29 million, but the fund
eventually is expected to provide $42
million in retirement benefits, in-
cluding benefits for those currently
working for-the city.
The city is in the 29th year of a 35-
year schedule for making up the $14
million difference, and it is falling
behind on this payment schedule,
Devers said.
Devers also said the sum the city
must pay to the pension fund will in-
crease year after year because the city
hires more employees.
In addition, employees are deman-
ding more retirement benefits from the
same fund, and the federal government
is asking a larger percentage of the
employees' paychecks each year for
social security.
MAYOR LOUIS Belcher outlined four
ways of obtaining the money needed to
meet the payment schedule:
* The city could take more money
from the general fund and sacrifice
" It could renegotiate city employee
contracts so that the employees are en-

titled to less.
" It could contract city work to
private companies, the employees of
which would not be covered by the
city's pension plan.
" City Council could increase proper-
ty taxes, a step which would require
voter approval.
Councilwoman Leslie Morris (D-
Second Ward) attributed the shortfall
in pension payments to two factors.
Either city employees were asking too
much from the plan, she said, or in-
flation was decreasing the value of the
MORRIS NOTED that if the latter
were the case, then contracting the
work to private comp-anies would not
solve the problem, since employees
from private businesses would be
covered by other pension funds or
social security.
In addition to reviewing the proposed
budget for the city controller's office,
Council last night also reviewed
proposed budgets for the city treasurer,
the market fund, non-departmental
programs, and the SWD.
City Administrator Sylvester Murray

said the city was studying ways to con-
It.ct out the refuse collection services
the city provides. Councilwoman
Morris asked Murray to prepare infor-
mation for Council concerning the level
of service that a private company
might provide.
MORRIS SAID some private com-
panies place a limit on the number of
containers they would pick up at each
building. This service would not be ap-
propriate for Ann Arbor, she said,
because of the large number of apar-
tment buildings in the city..
SWD Director Ulysses Ford told
Council the department planned two
major changes in the coming year.
He said that while the SWD was
asking for more money to operate the
city's new solid waste shredder, it
would save money by cutting out three
refuse collectors' positions.
Ford said the department will
provide the same level of refuse collec-
tion service with six two-man crews as
it provided before with five three-man
crews. But, he added that the switch to
two-man crews would allow the depar-
tment to eliminate three positions.

AA TA names new executive director
By MARJORIE BOHN THE AATA executive director will be great deal of experience," said Ur-
The Ann Arbor Transportation responsible for the guidance and ad- sprung.
Authority (AATA) last night announced ministration of AATA's 102-vehicle
the appointment of a Colorado transit transit system. AATA employs 250 The AATA board held an extensive
system manager as its new executive people and has a $6 million budget. nationwide search over the past three
director. months to find a successor for former
Richard Simonetta, 32, accepted the Simonetta- currently is the Deputy Executive Director Karl Guenther, who
job offer after "financial arrangemen- General Manager for Transit resigned from the position in Septem-
ts" were finalized, said Cecil Ursprung, Operations in Denver, Colorado. His ber 1978. Guenther resigned after a con-
AATA board member. Ursprung said career has spanned eight years and troversy over AATA policy changes.
Simonetta will assume the AATA post three different transit systems in all Robert Works, assistant director of the
June 13 with a salary of $43,400 per year areas and management levels. "He AATA since 1974, has served as acting
plus fringe benefits. comes highly recommended and has a director since Guenther's resignation.

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