Illinois Quad City Pension Funds Have Millions To Make Up - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Illinois Quad City Pension Funds Have Millions To Make Up

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Planning for retirement is one of the toughest challenges for workers.

The majority of whom have to make all the decisions on their own.

There are still pension systems out there and many belong to cities and states.

Pension systems in the Illinois Quad Cities have some ground to make up.

East Moline was best with its pensions at 63 percent complete for police and 78 percent funded for fire.

Moline and Rock Island sit a little farther back.

Moline has its pensions funded at 48 percent for police and 40 percent funded for fire.

Rock Island's police pension is at 47 percent funded, and fire is at 44 percent.

"I made plans through my career, to what I was going to do after my career as a firefighter based on those plans," says Rock Island fire pension board trustee Doug Vroman.

He uncomfortable with the noises coming from across the state. As mayors say they can't afford their police and fire pensions.

"I know there is a lot of momentum at the state level for going back and changing the benefits that I worked for, for 29 years," says Vroman.

As a Rock Island fire pension board member, Vroman understands the challenges facing cities across the state. He's not comfortable himself with a fire pension funded at 44 percent, but he says good investment policy and regular checks from the city will boost that number.

"Were doing everything we can do to maximize the investment returns to take the pressure of the taxpayers," says Vroman.

"We allocate for those pensions every year and we know by 2040 we're supposed to be at 90 percent, we're shooting for 100," says Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley.

He considers the pension payment a fixed part of the budget. It's $2.1 million next year.

"It's a cost of doing business, they've worked the years, they deserve the pension and we're going to pay them the pensions," says Pauley.

Vroman says the biggest cost is paying down the pension's unfunded liability. $31 million needs to be made up. He believes the city and pension board will get the job done.

"We're not concerned about paying benefits, or having a large number of people retire and not having the liquidity to pay those benefits," says Vroman.

He just fears Illinois will change the benefits again for those already paying into the system.

Illinois reset the pension schedule a few years ago.

All cities must have their pension funds 90 percent funded by 2040.

The payments get larger over time though, leading to the concern that pension payments are eating up budgets.

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