Mayor accepts pension fund recommendation - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mayor accepts pension fund recommendation

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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke speaks at a Thursday afternoon news conference. WRCBtv.com photo by Lee Broome Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke speaks at a Thursday afternoon news conference. WRCBtv.com photo by Lee Broome
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke accepted a recommendation from the Pension Task Force for reforms to the Fire & Police Pension Fund Thursday morning.

The recommendation does not decrease monthly pension checks for retirees, but is supposed to save taxpayers approximately $4 to $5 million annually and will ensure the fund is financially healthy for retirees in coming years.

"After months of discussion, the Pension Task Force has reached a consensus recommendation that puts the pension plan on a sustainable path in a fiscally responsible way," stated Mayor Andy Berke. "I have reviewed the recommendation, and I am confident this is a strong set of benefits that will reach our shared goals for the Fire & Police Pension Fund."

The recommendation made by the Pension Task Force is subject to legal and actuarial review and includes the following:

  • 100% benefits for public safety employees killed in the line of duty (31.25% increase);
  • An increase in benefits payable to elderly widows of public safety employees, currently received only $500 per month;
  • Sustained, yet cost-neutral, DROP benefit;
  • Temporary reconfiguration of the COLA structure so that those employees who receive the lowest pension benefits receive a higher COLA; and
  • Increased employee contributions phased in gradually over the next three years.

The recommendation is pending review by the city's actuary and legal counsel.

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