BERLIN– Officials opted to delay approval of a motion addressing concerns from the board that monitors how casino impact grants are spent.
The Berlin Town Council this week tabled a motion acknowledging the Local Development Council (LDC) desire that the town work toward funding LEOPS (the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System) with more than just casino impact grants.
“The language of this motion does not commit you to anything it simply makes public that you’re acknowledging the concerns and the request of the LDC,” Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said. “I don’t see any harm in holding off on this.”
Last month, when Berlin officials presented the LDC with a multi-year plan for casino revenue spending, LDC officials made it clear they didn’t think the town should depend on casino impact grants as the sole source of funding for LEOPS. The LDC approved the town’s fiscal year 2024 -2026 plan but made it clear that the town should work to decrease the Local Impact Grant (LIG) funding being used to pay for LEOPS over time.
“They approved our FY 24, 25, 26 plan and that that request was for us to acknowledge that we understood that the group, the LDC, would like to see the town phase out LEOPS payments using the LIG grant,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said.
He said the town needed to be careful with the wording of its motion, however, because officials couldn’t bind future councils with it.
“I think we need to acknowledge the request of the LDC and I think we need to make a good faith effort to comply with the things we said we would comply with but we cannot bind the future council to certain things,” he said.
Councilman Jay Knerr asked if there was any harm in submitting a revised multi-year plan that showed the reduction in reliance on LIG funding for LEOPS. Tyndall said that wasn’t necessary because the LDC had approved the plan the town had submitted.
“There’s no need right this moment but for FY27, we may, in order to get consensus of the LDC, have to begin moving some things around,” Tyndall said.
Knerr said he felt the council should get the wording of the motion right the first time. Tyndall agreed.
“We have time,” he said.
The council voted unanimously to table the motion to finalize the best language for it.
“I don’t see any harm in holding off on this,” Bohlen said.