Morton Grove pension board member questions funding
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:15AM
MORTON GROVE — A member of Morton Grove’s Firemen’s Pension Board is questioning whether the village is budgeting enough for the pension fund next year.
At the village’s Nov. 20 budget workshop, Jim Quinn challenged trustees to put more money into the fund than the $1.7 million earmarked in the proposed 2013 village budget.
Quinn said that based on a report from the village’s actuary, Morton Grove should be allocating about $2 million to the fund next year.
Village Administrator Ryan Horne, however, said the amount he proposed in the budget is based on a report from the Illinois Department of Insurance. That report stated that $1.7 million is the amount the village must contribute to the fund next year.
Quinn questioned the accuracy of that report and said that even the actuary report is based on “optimistic” estimates of interest the pension fund can earn.
The funding of fire and police pensions has long been a village issue.
Former Mayor Rick Krier, citing what he said was a failure of previous village boards to contribute enough to the pension funds, raised property taxes in order to make additional payments to the accounts.
At the Nov. 20 meeting, Quinn suggested that the property tax increase was one of the factors that contributed to Krier’s defeat when he ran against Staackmann for a second term.
“Rick Krier did the right thing and (was) voted out of office,” Quinn said.
Trustee Shel Marcus also noted that the pension issue is not new, and added that Morton Grove is among many towns facing the same problem.
He maintained that pensions need to be addressed by the Illinois General Assembly,
“This has gone on for years and years,” Marcus said.
But Quinn said that the payments to the Firemen’s Pension Fund are solely the responsibility of the village.
“The state has nothing to do with this pension,” he said.
Mayor Dan Staackmann said that the village has been increasing payments to the fund for several years and is “committed to funding these pensions.” He pledged to pay more into the fund if the money can be found.
“If there are a couple more bucks and the board wants to do it, we’ll do it,” he said.
But he said this is not the time to raise real estate taxes to increase pension payments.
“If we push that too far there are going to be a lot of empty homes,” he said.
“The whole board feels if there is extra money we can get it there,” added Trustee Dan DiMaria.