Jax Retirement Task Force Proposes Pension Changes, Considers Funding Options

Feb 20, 2014

The Jacksonville Retirement Reform Task Force has agreed to many of the proposals set forth by Mayor Alvin Brown to revamp the city’s pension plan.

Still to be determined is a recommendation to pay off the city’s $1.7 billion unfunded obligation to the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund. The task force did agree to propose increasing employee contributions, modifying the DROP plan and reducing cost of living adjustments (COLA) from 3 percent annually to one-point five percent.

The task force is expected to recommend a way to pay the unfunded obligation next week. Task force chairman Bill Scheu said one proposal would be to raise property taxes and then ask voters if they would want to swap the increase for sales tax hike.

"So what you have to do is the City Council would have to increase the millage rate by one mill and then have a referendum asking citizens of Duval County would you rather have the increase come from ad valorem taxes or from a sales tax," he said.

Mayor Brown’s Chief of Staff Chris Hand said they are happy with the recommendations from the task force.

Police and Fire Pension Fund Executive Director John Keane said he opposes current employees getting their COLA cut in half. The reduction would not affect retirement funds already earned.

You can follow Kevin Meerschaert @KMeerschaertJax.