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City Council Set To Hear From SAPD-SAFD Benefits Task Force

Ryan Loyd

In two weeks the San Antonio City Council will receive a briefing on the results of the Healthcare and Retirement Benefits Task Force, known as the Legacy Task Force.

The committee studied how the city can modify the current system in place for uniformed safety personnel. While all sides see a resolution in sight, it depends on who you ask as to the route that will get them there.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley said Tuesday there is a balance to strike with acknowledging the life-risking work police and firefighters do while at the same time realizing if something isn't done, the cost of public safety will eat the entire city budget by the year 2031.

"As the mayor has said, change is needed, and we want to do that respectfully of those who serve the city very well, but also be mindful of the financial challenges that the city has in the years to come," Sculley said.

San Antonio Police Association President Mike Helle has said he has tried negotiating a way to curb healthcare costs in the past.

"We offered mechanisms to curb health care costs, they said 'no,'" he told TPR following the sixth of eight meetings the task force held.

With departments doing more with less, Helle said the task force isn't the way to solve these problems.

"We're not crying that we need more. We're saying that all these issues that we're talking about can be dealt with at the negotiating table," he said.

Still, the task force is making recommendations. During the meetings, members brainstormed ideas like increasing revenue through taxes, or negotiating shorter contracts so they could be reviewed more often, and implementing a wellness program.

The council will receive a briefing on February 19th.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.