What Price Pensions?
If his fellow commissioners agree, that leaves the county facing a dire reality. McDaniel warns that "core services will be impacted" if they continue to divert money from the general fund to retiree benefits. LaBarre agrees, saying that covering the unfunded liabilities from the operating budget would require "massive cuts to discretionary human services and unmandated public safety--though everybody would get cut."
If bonding is too dangerous, spending general fund money too damaging, and doing nothing no longer an option, the only alternative left is raising taxes. "Some millages are possibilities," LaBarre says, "like a public safety or human services millage, or a millage to pay into a legacy [cost] relief fund. We could also talk about a Headlee override"--asking voters to restore property taxes cut by the state tax limitation law.