Joe P. Asher|Daily Enterprise

Mayor Danny Howard discusses increased costs for retirement during a Harlan City Council meeting on Monday.

City talks increased costs

The Harlan City Council discussed the new rates for the city’s contribution to state retirement funds during a meeting on Monday.

Mayor Danny Howard called on Harlan City Treasurer Charles Guyn for the financial report.

“The board of trustees for the Kentucky Retirement System met last week, and they have published the new rates for retirement effective July 1, 2018,” Guyn said. “We are currently paying 19.8 percent. We got a 46.25 percent increase. That number will go to 28.05 percent.”

Guyn said based off of fiscal year 2017, the new rate will cost the city an additional $77,000.

“We don’t have it,” Howard stated.

Guyn explained cities with bigger payrolls will see an even larger increase.

“Corbin’s payroll for fiscal year 2017 was $1.6 million, it will cost them an additional $146,000,” Guyn said. “Hazard’s payroll was just a tad over $4 million, it will cost them an additional $356,000…Middlesboro’s payroll was $1,420,000, it will cost them an additional $126,000…it will cost Louisville Metro an additional $13 million. Lexington’s is $7 million.”

Guyn said he has heard from several people in other cities who are trying to figure out where the money to pay for the increase will come from.

“There is no way the smaller cities can afford to do this,” Howard said. “We might have to test the system and say ‘sorry, we’re not going to do this.’ We can’t do it.”

Guyn told the council he will share all information he receives from other cities concerning the issue.

“This is going to be devastating,” Guyn said. “In my opinion, there’s not a city in eastern Kentucky that can afford it.”

Howard said the city has already made all possible financial cuts.

In other council activity:

• Harlan City Fire Chief Linette Hutchison reported her department inspected seven single-family dwellings, conducted four public programs, completed 102 man hours of training and responded to five calls including two structure fires and two fire alarm activations;

• Harlan City Police Chief Mike Thomas reported his department received 2,974 calls, worked 20 automobile accidents, opened 10 criminal cases, issued 45 citations and made 28 arrests.