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Pension task force looks for solutions to funding crisis

Reported by: Sam King
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Updated: 12/05/2013 8:35 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The city's Retirement Reform Task Force met Thursday to begin to narrow a list of options to deal with a $1.7 billion unfunded liability for the Police and Fire Pension Fund. 

Members took some options off the table, including bankruptcy, pension obligation bonds and turning over city property to the pension fund.

Members also seemed to rule out a defined contribution or 401k-style plan saying it was not likely to be approved. 

The question of whether more taxes should be raised or how much city services should be cut to pay down the obligation was left open. The committee's chairman appointed a subcommittee to help answer those questions. The subcommittee will operation with the assumption that city government can afford to pay $120 million a year in one-time contributions, but much more is actually needed each year to close the gap.

"We have to find the additional contributions to handle the unfunded liability and the sources of those funds," said Bill Scheu, chair of the task force. "We don't know that yet and that number may change a little bit."

The Task Force's final meeting is next month, at which time it will send a list of recommendations to the Mayor and City Council. Those entities along with the police and firefighter unions all have to sign off on the plan.

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