Community and task force meet to discuss police and fire pension - WSMV Channel 4

Community and task force meet to discuss police and fire pension fund

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Chattanooga taxpayers will have to foot the bill in the coming years to stabilize the city's police and fire pension fund.

Mayor Andy Berke has formed a task force to decided how to do that.

Monday, the task force, made up of active and retired fire fighters, police officers, and community leaders met to discuss the future of the fund.

Director of the PFM group, Vijay Kapoor tells me a lot of cities are in the same position Chattanooga is in.

But not all of them are working to get ahead of the issue. The hope is by finding a way to stabilize the pension fund now it will be there for those who are depending on it.

"There are so many variables. So many things that can be adjusted and any little change over here is a big change over there," said Chris Willmore, Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund.

A task force of 18 people gathered Monday to look at holes in the current pension plan.

"You have an under funded pension plan that is about 61 percent funded or 51 percent if you look at it on a market level. So the concern is to make sure it is able to pay the benefits," said Vijay Kapoor, the PFM Group.

Vijay Kapoor with the PFM Group is acting as the mediator between all sides.

"What we will be able to do is let them know what the costs are and what the impacts are. But our main goal is to get the task force to come to a consensus," said Kapoor.

But this is a personal mission for some task force members, who have given years to the force.

The recommendation will affect their retirement too.

"I think the concerns that people have and the direction this tacklers is taking is to minimize the impact on people as much as possible. But I don't think we will be able to make everyone happy," said Kapoor.

President of the Fire and Police Pension Fund Chris Willmore says he thinks the task force is doing a good job and he feels confident they'll make the right recommendation.

"I think they are trying to work for the betterment of both departments and the city," said Willmore.

"In the short term there are opportunities to address some issues and I'm confident the task force will be able to do it," said Kapoor.

The task force has been asked to have a consensus by the end of the year. The next meeting will be held on October 23rd.

Kapoor said lots of good questions were asked Monday by the task force he says he feels confident they will reach agreement.

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