O'Fallon Progress

Village: Police pension fund in good shape

While pension funds around the state are suffering from underfunding, the pension for Shiloh’s police officers is in good standing, village officials said.

Shiloh unanimously passed the police pension tax levy ordinance last month for the fiscal year beginning May 1, 2016 and ending April 30, 2017. The amount to be raised by the tax levy is $335,900.

“I want residents to keep in mind that every penny we levy in taxes goes to our police pension fund and nothing else, and that’s a good thing,” Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said.

Vernier predicts the village’s assessed value will increase over the next few years, which will help alleviate some of the burden because “it may be slightly over the 5 percent in tax levies, but it’ll be more spread out, and people won’t really notice.”

Village Treasurer Bill Boker said Shiloh’s police pension fund is in good shape as compared to other municipalities.

“The police pension valuation at the end of November was $4,445,901.80,” Boker said. “This year’s levy amount is average in comparison to other areas.”

Boker said the village has yet to receive its balance amount from the state for this year, but expects its funding level to be in a positive position.

“As of the actuarial report from last year, we were 80 percent funded for the police pension liabilities; the state’s target ratio for downstate police pension funding is 90 percent by 2040, so the village is getting closer to the state’s future target,” Boker said.

Illinois state law requires municipalities to levy what is needed to fund the police pension annually, Boker said.

Vernier said he gives a lot of credit for the good standing status of the police pension fund to former village treasurer Dan Weidenbenner.

“We may have been reluctant at times, but he always had the board add an extra $100,000 over what was needed, because he had the foresight we lacked. He knew the day would come that we the state requirements would increase, and I’m glad we did it,” Vernier said. “Unfortunately, not all municipalities are doing as good, like the village of Swansea.”

Since 2013, the video gaming revenues from the village are 100 percent earmarked for police pension fund contribution.

The total municipality share of the total revenue that has been funneled into the police pension fund from video gaming revenue from Jan. 2012 to Nov. 2016 is $94,909.85, according to the Illinois Gaming Board website’s monthly reports.

Village Clerk Brenda Kern and Boker confirmed that Shiloh has made large contributions from general fund revenue over the years.

“About 3 to 4 years ago we put about $200,000 to get the police pension to the point where the fund could diversify into more equity investments,” Boker said.

“Shiloh is doing very well to fund the obligation for the police pension so it will continue to grow a little better,” Boker added.

Robyn L. Kirsch: 618-239-2690, @BND_RobynKirsch