Pension report: Debt is real

The blue ribbon committee studying Evanston’s public safety pension problem has concluded there’s no reason to doubt the $145 million funding shortfall estimate by the city’s new actuary.

In a report released Tuesday, the panel says it found "no evidence of any wrongdoing or malfeasance" by city officials as the pension liability increased from $48 million over the past decade.

But it says that if more questions had been asked, the city might have chosen to increase funding sooner "to mitigate the depth of the current crisis."

And the panel says the mayor and city council now "must take action to implement a plan to restore the health of the pension funds."

The panel also provided a laundry list of possible steps the city might take to raise funds to cover the pension cost.

But, other than recommending against the issuance of pension obligation bonds and suggesting that raising property taxes should be a "last resort," it provided little guidance about which strategies look most promising.

The full report is available for download.

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