Pension Costs Remain A Major Hurdle For Oakland Officials

OAKLAND (KCBS) – The city of Oakland is facing a budget deficit of more than $40 million and officials are also having to contend with escalating pension costs.

A Redevelopment Agency and Finance and Management Committee hearing on Tuesday dealt with the pension issue, particularly the Police and Fire Retirement System, or PFRS.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said she’s well aware that the city owes $46 million to the pension by July 1 of this year.

“It’s a problem, but it’s one that can be solved,” she said. “But the long term pension issue has to be dealt with. That’s why negotiations are coming up.”

Bob Muszar, President of the Retired Oakland Police Officers Association, said the payment won’t be a problem this year.

“The $46 million that’s owed to PFRS is sitting there in a dedicated account that can only be spent for PFRS,” said Muszar. “It has absolutely no impact on this year’s budget deficit.”

But Muszar does caution that next year could be a different story. The committee has decided to take up the pension issue again and to discuss whether it would be feasible to issue another bond to cover future pension costs.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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