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Pension debt soars with market slump

Evanston’s unfunded public safety pension liability has grown 9 percent in the past year as the result of slumping investment returns.


Evanston’s unfunded public safety pension liability has grown 9 percent in the past year as the result of slumping investment returns.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons told aldermen this week that the pension liability has grown from $145 million to $158 million.

Lyons said the pension fund investments for firefighters and police have actually lost 25 to 30 percent of their market value, but because actuarial estimates tend to smooth out short-term market swings, the funding shortfall that has to be dealt with next year is considerably smaller than that.

He said the city’s combined payment to the two funds is likely to rise from the current $12.7 million to $14 million for next year.

That was one of the biggest issues Lyons noted in the city’s special purpose funds.

But he also said water and sewer revenues are declining because of lower water usage and the insurance fund could come up short if workers compensation claims continue at the current high rate.

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