Public safety pension changes give taxpayers a break

City officials will tell aldermen tonight that public safety pension changes approved by the state legislature last year are starting to give local taxpayers some relief from rapidly rising pension fund tax levies.

Based on a new joint actuarial report prepared by Tepfer Consulting Group Ltd. for the city and the police and fire pension boards, the city will still increase spending on the two pension funds by $823,000 next year — a 6 percent increase. But earlier projections, before the changes in state law, had called for a 16 percent increase.

The new calculations, based largely on the state's switch from requiring 100 percent funding by 2033 to 90 percent funding by 2040, also mean that the funding level for the pension funds will rise from just over 40 percent this year to a projected 45 percent in 2012.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says other changes approved by the legislature — providing lower benefit levels and a higher retirement age for new hires in the police and fire departments — won't have a major impact on the city's pension costs for another five or ten years.

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