Fri. Feb 3rd, 2023
Former Fort Smith police officer Kim Thompson, who served as an officer on the force from 1975-2000, shows a photo of himself in uniform at Harry E. Kelley River Park on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Fort Smith.

The City of Fort Smith has dedicated an additional $2 million to the state’s police and fire retirement payments to generate money to help support retired public servants.

The additional money is expected to yield between 7%-10% interest, or $140,000-$200,000 annually, back to the city, according to Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman. This money will help pay retirement for its police and firefighters who began their careers before 1983.

“For a good long while there, governments were promising, but not funding (retirement) enough,” said Fort Smith Finance Director Andy Richards. “It’s basically funding prior service.”

According to city records, Fort Smith had 182 police and firefighters and their beneficiaries in 2019 who began their careers before 1983.

Fort Smith paid $5.18 million to those in the old retirement system that fiscal year. Richards said the average amount paid to those on the new plan is unavailable because it’s “a cost-sharing number among all the police and fire in the state.”

By senior