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Jax Pension Reform Task Force Mulls Funding Options

Kevin Meerschaert

The Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force is getting closer to coming up with recommendations to fix the city’s pension problems.Still to be determined is how to pay off the city’s $1.7 billion unfunded mandate for the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund.

Several ways to help pay off the pension obligation are on the table.

They include a millage rate hike, an increase in the city’s franchise fee and an additional sales tax.

Mayor Alvin Brown also maintains changes in the pension plans at JEA could free up money to help pay off the obligation as well.

Task force Chair Bill Scheu said they will continue to debate the pros and cons of each proposal.

"Given the discussion about the JEA proposal, I think the discussion would be about whether it was fair to push that over on the JEA users, because that's who is going to pay it," he said. "Does it effectively become a rate increase? Or whether it's fairer to have an ad velorem tax increase or if we can do the sales tax is it more fair to have a broader sales tax?"      

On Wednesday, the task force discussed what changes should be made for future employees pensions but it has yet come to any final recommendations. Mayor Brown is expected to present an updated plan to a task force subcommittee on his proposal to help pay off the unfunded mandate next Tuesday morning.

The full task force will meet again next Wednesday afternoon with the hopes of wrapping up it’s work. Scheu says another meeting has been scheduled for a week later if more time is needed.  

You can follow Kevin Meerschaert @KMeerschaertJax.

Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.