The Village seeks to make the pension system sustainable not only to ensure affordability for taxpayers, but also to protect obligations to police officers and firefighters. If the Village cannot afford the escalating costs associated with these pensions, the system will collapse and employees will receive nothing.
Illinois municipalities throughout Illinois, including Roselle, are having their budgets strained by unsustainable pension benefits. Employees in government outside of Chicago (referred to as “downstate”) are serviced by three defined benefit pension funds – the downstate police, fire, and Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) pension systems.
In the Spring of 2010, the Governor signed Public Act 96-0889 that overhauled the pension system that affects all Roselle employees except police officers or firefighters. The overhaul institutes a new set of less costly pension benefits for future employees. Then in the Fall of 2010, after a strong appeal by municipalities, the General Assembly approved, and the Governor signed into law Public Act 96-1495, which provided benefit changes to the downstate police and fire pension funds to reduce the pension benefits for future employees. While the changes will provide some relief to taxpayers and municipal budgets, that relief, however, will mostly occur in future years. More needs to be done now to address the continual fiscal hardship that funding police and fire pensions puts on municipal budgets and the taxpayers that fund them through property taxes. Possible solutions include: increasing employee contributions towards their pensions (currently 9.91% for police officers and 9.45% for firefighters); address restrictions on investment opportunities that inhibit pension funds from maximizing investments while minimizing risk; and, modify the composition of local pension boards to ensure employees do not have majority control (currently 3 – 2 in favor of current or former employees).