SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A looming debt hangs over the City of Shreveport related to former firefighters’ retirement money.
Mayor Tom Arceneaux and CAO Tom Dark are looking to get ahead of this funding dilemma by asking for one million dollars.
The City has two, old pension funds for police and fire personnel who retired many years ago. The pension system was closed in the 1980s’ and new hires were then placed under the state’s system. Both of the old pension systems were originally set up to be fully funded to always support the retirees. However, Dark says it was later found to not be the case. Currently, the police pension is only 85 percent funded. While the firemen’s pension is less than 45 percent funded.
The administration said their commitment is that the city owes the pension beneficiaries everything they were promised until the last beneficiary passes away.
“The fireman’s system is so deeply in the hole that it is going to require periodic infusions of funding. We happen to have a little money this year so that’s why we’re doing that. This may not happen every year. But it’s an attempt to stave off as long as we can the day when you’re going to have to make these payments straight out of operating funds,” Dark said.
The mayor’s office is asking the city council to approve moving one million dollars from the General Fund into the Firemen’s Pension and Relief Fund. Also recommend making payments to the police fund in the future if its unfunded liability continues to grow.
The city said they have factored for this one-million-dollar payment so it will not affect the 2024 submitted budget.
The city council will also vote on the revised noise ordinance on Tuesday that was originally passed and then vetoed by the mayor. The updated ordinance looks to regulate decibel levels under 75 for downtown venues along with placing enforcement under Shreveport police rather than the engineering department.