Illinois' inability to adequately fund its pension plans is a clear indicator of financial problems. The same is true for Belleville.
Page 57 of the city's audit report (http://www.belleville.net/docs/Belleville%20City%20of-043012%20 searchable.pdf) reveals that the police and firefighters' pension actuarial accrued liabilities are only 54 percent and 45 percent funded, respectively. Citywide, the total unfunded pension liabilities and post-employment health care exceeds $65 million.
In a previous letter, I disclosed that the city's future debt payments (including interest) and off-balance sheet TIF debt approximated $158 million. Factor in the unfunded pension liabilities and the total city debt is $223 million. That is almost $5,000 per resident.
As Illinois residents, we know the day of reckoning is eminent in terms of us paying for the state's inability to manage its finances. As Belleville residents, we will get to pay for financial incompetence times two.
Eckert's administration will tell you all is well while waving its All-America city flag. However, when a city must pay interest at 9.25 percent to sell bonds, when its liabilities exceed its assets by $44 million, when its pension plans are severely underfund, and when a larger and larger portion of its revenues will be required to pay ballooning debt service costs, all is not well.
We have heard that increased taxes, decreased benefits and increased retirement ages are solutions the state is considering. Joe Hayden and I will address the problem. I would like to hear what Mayor Eckert's plans are.
Candidate for treasurer