According to the report from the task force, “the City’s unfunded pension liability, based on June 30, 2010 data, is $95 million, comprised of $23 million for Miscellaneous employees and $72 million for sworn Safety employees. Those numbers are estimated to rise as of June 30,2012, to $107 million, or $28 million for Miscellaneous employees and $79 million for sworn Safety employees.”
However, these figures may be low, because they are based on a CalPERS “smoothing” methodology that may be overly optimistic.
As of January 1, 2011, the City’s estimated unfunded liability for retiree medical benefits has grown to $86 million. That figure is expected to grow rapidly over the next 15 years, exceeding $150 million. The City of Alameda currently makes payments as they come due, and puts no money aside as benefits accrue.
Task force members were surveyed on ten potential approaches to address the problem, one of which included selling Alameda Point and using the proceeds to help fund the pension liabilities. (Only 3 surveyed members agreed, while 11 disagreed.)
The most popular approach was to negotiate with the City’s employees to either pay more of the City’s share of the pension obligations, or to shift away from using the employee’s single highest year of income when calculating benefits. (Unanimous.)
The City of Alameda also released documents outlining the public safety labor negotiation procedure, online here.