Anniston pension plan funding improving
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Nov 07, 2013 | 2692 views |  0 comments | 76 76 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anniston's effort last year to shore up the city’s retirement plan for police and firefighters appears to be paying off.

The pension plan grew by more than $3 million during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, due to an increased contribution last year from the city, members of the Policemen and Firemen Retirement Board learned in a meeting Thursday.

A financial report on the plan said it was worth about $23.5 million at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. A year earlier it was worth $20 million.

"The plan is doing well," said Greg McNeillie of Dahab and Associates, who handles the retirement plan's investments. "We're starting to see an impact of the cash the city put in there."

In recent years, insufficient investment returns and contributions from the city led to stagnant growth in the pension fund's revenue. To counteract the problem and keep the fund solvent, the city last year increased its annual contribution to the plan by $1.7 million for a total of $3.1 million.

Chad Little of Freiman Little Actuaries, who oversees the costs and financial risks of the plan, agreed with McNeillie about the improvement of the pension plan.

"The cash-flow difference has leveled off," Little said. "The plan the city put in place last year has put the retirement plan back into more normal funding."

Little said the problem with the pension in recent years was that it had paid money to retirees too rapidly – the money could not stay invested long enough to grow. The city's increased contribution created some slack, however, allowing more money to stay invested longer and accrue.

"Ultimately, you have to be sending in more money than you're sending out," Little said. "Now, we're not being forced to sell assets faster."

Also during the meeting, the board approved more than $105,000 in expenditures for investment consultant fees, legal fees and pension contribution refunds to five police officers who had resigned in the past year.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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