Dozens of suburban police and fire pension funds drying up
BY ANDREW SCHROEDTER and PATRICK REHKAMP Better Government Association August 5, 2014 8:43PM
111910/Blue Island - Police were on the scene at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island after a reported stabbing Friday, November 19, 2010. (Brett Roseman/Sun-Times Media) ikestabbing_P1/news
Updated: September 7, 2014 6:29AM
There are 217 police and fire pension funds in suburban Cook County. The taxpayer-supported systems, with collective assets of nearly $5 billion, are intended to provide public safety workers and their families with stable retirement incomes.
But a Better Government Association analysis found that dozens of local police and fire pension funds are in financial peril, putting retirement incomes at risk – as well as the fiscal health of numerous municipalities.
Rescuing the troubled funds may require tax hikes, service cuts or both, say experts. Already, some public safety agencies are looking to privatize or merge with neighboring departments in an effort to cut personnel and ease future pension payouts. Whatever the method, taxpayers can expect to bear a heavier cost burden because of the severe local pension shortfall.