The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 17, 2014

Pension funding improving, actuary reports

An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

In addition to that extra money, the city is paying the regular annual contribution this fiscal year of 30.87 percent of the payroll of police and fire employees, which will amount to $2,737,752, according to the report given by Brad Armstrong of Gabriel Roeder Smith and Co. of Detroit.

Employees pay 15.36 percent of their wages into the plan.

The city has taken a number of steps to boost the funding ratio of the plan to keep it solvent. In addition to making the periodic extra contributions, the amortization method was changed several years ago to a 23-year, closed-level method so that the funding ratio reaches 100 percent over that time.

Currently the market value of the plan is more than $34 million. The plan has 199 participants with 115 retirees and three on disability receiving more than $2.7 million in annual benefits.

Armstrong told the pension board that the fund is making progress toward improving the funding ratio, which is expected to increase by 2 percent every year. This year’s funding ratio is 54 percent and the actuary predicts that will be at about 59 percent next fiscal year.

Next year’s funding percentage by the city will decline more than 1.6 percent to 29.25 percent, according to the report.

The actuary said there will be some changes in governmental accounting rules that go into effect later this year and he will send the board a letter detailing how those changes will affect the fund’s accounting.

Pension plan

The city does not contribute to Social Security coverage for police and fire department workers since they are covered by the pension plan.

 

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