As Deadline Looms, Chattanooga Pension Plan Under Review

Dec 9, 2013

Credit Frank Kehren, via Flickr/Creative Commons

With the clock ticking ever nearer to an end-of-2013 deadline, a special task force commissioned to study Chattanooga's city pension obligations is racing to reach a consensus.

A proposal being considered by the 18-member panel would save the city a projected $400 million over the next thirty years, reported the Chattanooga Times Free Press. But to do so, the plan calls for lowering cost-of-living increases and raising employee contributions, a suggestion that met resistance from city employees.

Some of that resistance is coming from the city's Fire and Police Pension Board, a permanent panel that said the proposed alterations could push city workers to quit or retire early. The board has presented its own alternative plan, which is projected to save $126 million.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke created the special task force in August, and the panel must reach consensus with the Fire and Police Pension Board by December 31. If a solution can't be reached, Berke will have to take the proposal to the city council and then to Chattanooga's voters for a referendum. Both sides said that is an outcome they want to avoid.