City facing $337K bill for pensions

The City of Warren has received its 2013 allocation from the state to help with pension costs but will still be responsible for $337,337 to meet the municipal obligation.

City Finance Director Donna Risinger said that the city’s allocation from the state totaled $357,360.99 and proposed to put $132,068 in the firefighters’ plan, $124,300 in the police department’s plan and the remaining $100,992.99 in the municipal employees’ plan.

Council Vice President Maurice Cashman asked how that determination is made.

Risinger said that it is based on the “unit value that the state has assigned to each of the members of the pension plan.”

Cashman then asked for clarification on whether the allocation reflects the health of the respective pension plan.

“In the past it has,” said Risinger, noting that the city decided this year to divide the funds based on the allocation.

Mayor Mark Phillips noted that this has been done in the past because “one of the plans (was) not going well” and that the state obligation was used to “prop it up.”

“The police plan was completely funded several years ago,” explained Risinger, noting that then the state aid was divided between the two other plans.

But that has changed.

“All three plans do have an obligation that the city has to pay for,” she said.

City Manager Nancy Freenock said, “The city has an obligation of $337,337 to meet the MMO (minimum municipal obligation) in each plan.” She noted that figure is budgeted.

“One of the problems was that the firefighters (plan) wasn’t looked at for a long time,” said Freenock, explaining that “action (was) taken earlier this year on that.”

“Hopefully, as years go, the deficits won’t be as great,” Freenock said.