Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Council Tells Controller to Update Pension Board

Pittsburgh City Council members want the City Controller to make a formal presentation to the board that oversees the city’s pension funds to make sure the members understand the value of what is being dedicated to the program. As 2010 came to a close, council settled on a plan to add $45 million in reserve funds to the pension program and at the same time dedicated more than $700 million in parking tax revenues over the next 31 years. The belief is that the funds have a large enough present-day value to boost the pension program to the 50-percent funded level and avoid a state take over. The bill calls for a two-step process. “It requires the Controller to make a calculation of the present value of the revenue dedicated in the ordinances “and with the Council President make a presentation to the board,” says Councilman Patrick Dowd.

Dowd stresses that the Council and the Controller are not obliged to make the presentation. He calls the move “house keeping,” “dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s” and “an effort to be respectful.”

The board and its actuaries will set a value of all the assets in the fund as of December 31st, including the new revenue stream, in the coming months and then submit it to the state for final approval. If the fund falls short of the 50% level it will be taken over by the state and the assets will be handed over to the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System. It is expected that the PMRS will call for much higher yearly payments than the city is currently making.

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