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OPINION: Pension Committee Identifies Source for Roads Funding

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OPINION: Pension Committee Identifies Source for Roads Funding

By Jack Atkin, Member of the Independent Citizen Advisory Committee on Pension Matters

Currently County excess pensions costs are running about $50 million a year and are projected to exceed $1 billion before they come under control. This according to the recent report from the Independent Citizen Advisory committee on Pension Matters. Excess costs are those that exceed the amount the County deems as sustainable. If just a portion of those excess costs were saved the amount for funding road maintenance and improvements could be greatly increased.

In 2011 the County determined pension costs were unsustainable and they adopted several goals and strategies to control pension costs. The key goal was to reduce pension costs to half what they were, as a percentage of compensation, within 10 years. The Citizen Committee found that after five years the County had achieved only 25% of the needed savings and the projected to time to achieve the goal had stretched out to 20 years.  

Is the County still committed to pension reforms? That’s a good question. Another strategy from the 2011 reform effort was to form a citizens’ advisory panel to “monitor, guide and drive ongoing reform efforts.” It took the County four years to form the Committee, which was disbanded after presenting its report in July. 

It’s not hard to see that if the County were to reduce the excess costs by only one third that would free up over $15 million a year, which could go for badly needed road maintenance. One answer to funding road maintenance lies in pension reform.

Click here for the complete report.