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Springfield, MO

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No. 5: City pension makes headway

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Springfield’s Police and Fire Pension Fund saw growth in 2010, which is something it hasn’t seen in a long time. City finance director Mary Mannix Decker said the funding ratio rose 2.4 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, which was the first time in 10 years that the ratio had increased.

Springfield Business Journal reported in October that one of the pension board members saw signs of improvement for the pension that was underfunded by nearly $200 million in January.

“While not a lot of pension fund sales tax is included in this year’s calculation, the small amount received is already showing signs of helping the fund,” said James Gillette, an actuary for American National Property and Casualty. “This is a great sign.”

Collection of the 3/4-cent pension-fund sales tax began April 1 after voters approved the tax in November 2009. The total amount of sales tax collected was $14,511,708, Decker said Dec. 16.

With the pension tax revenues rolling in, less money needed to come out of the city’s general fund, which allowed for 20 officers to be hired, according to an SBJ interview with Police Chief Paul Williams in November.  

In 2009, the city’s contribution to the fund equaled 52 percent of its payroll. That figure decreased to 35 percent with the passage of the sales tax.

In 2010, the fund also saw an infusion of $13.3 million from the city’s telecommunications settlement.

A 2010 actuarial report by Seattle-based consulting firm Milliman that was presented at the Oct. 14 pension board meeting found the fund was at 47.6 percent funded, up from 46.5 percent in its 2009 report. The data in the report had not included $4 million in sales tax revenues collected from July and August.

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