Since the pension reform plan between the City of Jacksonville, Fraternal Order of Police, Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters and Police and Fire Pension Fund was voted down by City Council, several new options have been put on the table.
And we’re now learning about even more.
“It’s a very exciting time, and we’re very grateful for their interest,” says Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force Chairman Bill Scheu.
The Pew Charitable Trust has now offered to make a presentation to the Task Force regarding the growing pension problem. The trust has worked with other cities on similar problems, and Scheu says they’re now interested in Jacksonville.
“They have indicated that they may be able to help us,” he says.
While Scheu doesn’t know exactly what their proposal will look like, it would be free consulting- as opposed to a private sector offer put before the Task Force a few weeks ago that would have had a six figure price tag. Scheu says, if the private firm is chosen, the bill will be paid with private sector dollars they will raise.
“It’s all of us working together and all ideas and all recommendations are going to go to the Task Force, and I’m very excited about it,” says Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.
While Brown is happy to see multiple proposals coming forward, he says one option does give him some concern. Jacksonville’s Civic Council, a group of prominent business leaders, offered up a package of changes which include reinvesting one billion dollars in city debt to help pay down the$1.7 billion unfunded pension liability. The liability is one of the biggest concerns all parties involved have on the road to reaching a final solution.
“I’m concerned about always borrowing money,” Brown says.
The other big items Scheu says need to be tackled are the governance by the Police and Fire Pension Fund and balance of the contributions overall.
The presentation will be Monday at 9 AM at City Hall. Scheu says the Task Force plans to have a decision on which option to pursue on Friday.