Toledo Mayor Mike Bell wants to put a referendum on the November ballot asking voters whether the city should pay pension premiums for union employees in the future.

The city pays 10% of many employees’ pension shares, on top of the city’s required contribution of 19.5%, according to a report in the Toledo Blade.

The proposal comes after Bell and the City Council recently declared exigent circumstances when approving the fiscal 2011 budget, a move that allowed them to unilaterally amend union contracts.

The amendments required employees to pay the 10% “pension pick-up” and pay more for health insurance. Since then, many unions have reached new agreements with the city.

Toledo officials have blamed a $48 million general fund deficit in part on the pension payments.

“It is obvious to me over the last four months that people care enough in the city to have a say in government and possible structural changes,” Bell told the Blade.

The seven-member City Council needs to approve putting the measure on the ballot.

Newly hired union employees are required to pay the 10% premium under new contracts passed by former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.