UPDATED: City, Fire, Police Pension Fund: Is this Line Item causing a STINK with COJ Financial Report?

It has been seven months since the city’s fiscal year ended, and there still is no Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for that period on the city’s Web site. Why not?

Is it just the usual snail-like pace of the bureaucratic machine?

Or is there something in the document that the administration doesn’t like?

The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is chock full of financial information about the city.

Of particular interest is the part covering the city’s cost for pensions.

In the 2016 CAFR it said that from 2007 to 2016 the contribution to the police and fire pension fund went from 31 percent of covered employee payroll to 114 percent! In two years of that period, the fund actually lost money. The excess (loss) is assigned to city budget stabilization account.

For years the city has been struggling to keep up with the unfunded liability of its pension funds. That is the amount needed to make the fund completely sound, so that if it suddenly ended all future retirees could be paid what they are promised.

Most funds operated by government entities in the past have been funded a percentage of the amount needed to meet the liability, but when it becomes less than 80 percent it becomes a serious problem.

The Police & Fire Pension Fund is at a 46 percent funded level with an unfunded liability of more than $1.6 billion; the General Employee Pension Fund is at a 60 percent funded level with an unfunded liability of approximately $910 million; and the Corrections Officers’ Pension Fund is at a 48 percent with an unfunded liability of about $120 million.

Mayor Lenny Curry stepped up to the plate and offered a plan to solve the problem by extending the city’s half-cent sales tax beyond the point when it would be paid off, in 2030. City Council approved the plan. Although many grumbled about it, no one else offered anything better.

But the city would have to continue to struggle until the point that the new tax kicks in, especially if interest rates remain low.

The CAFR should show how the city is faring.

Where is it?

UPDATED:  City Haul sources tell the Eye that the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is late because the auditors asked for a delay.

In addition, we are told, the pension funds rode the Trump Recovery for a whopping 14 percent increase, so the city should limp a little less en route to the sales tax jackpot of 2030 it is counting on to rescue the pension funds.

When we can confirm these details, and add more, we will.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.


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