The Atlanta City Council approved a resolution Monday to establish a committee to come up with recommendations for controlling the citys pension costs, confirmed Howard Shook, council member and chairman of the citys finance and executive committee. The city is spending 20% of its $580 million general fund on employee pensions, Mr. Shook said.
Pension costs are eating us alive, Mr. Shook said, adding that the council had to close a firehouse and cut back on police positions this year because of general budget problems. The pension costs are really eating out of a lot of other activities.
In 2005, the council selectively adopted recommendations from a pension task force, Mr. Shook said. Since then, costs have exploded. One of the goals of the new committee will be to take a look at the numbers used in the previous study.
Published reports indicated the citys total unfunded liability was about $1.2 billion currently vs. $620.5 million in 2003. Mr. Shook said he did not know if those numbers were accurate. He added that determining the unfunded liability would be one task for the committee.
Mr. Shook said he hopes to have a report ready for the council by December.
The General Employees Pension Fund had $942 million in assets; the Police Officers Pension Fund, $560 million; and the Firefighters Pension Fund, $393 million, as of December 2006, the most recent data available, according to Money Market Directory.