Hamtramck is not alone in facing a thorny financial problem

This week city officials took their first step in ensuring the city’s pension fund will remain solvent.
It’s a problem many communities – and even the state itself – are facing.
Blame it on falling tax revenues and escalating health care costs. Also add the fact that people are living longer.
Hamtramck’s pension is funded at only 45 percent, according to a recent study by the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (MERS).
Communities should be anywhere over 60 percent funded. Currently, the city spends a little less than $500,000 a year to keep the pensions going.
Somehow, city officials are going to have to figure out a way to increase our pension contribution. So far, one solution is for new employees to kick in more money from their earnings.
As we said, it’s a thorny problem many communities are up against.
The solution?
It is going to have to come from state legislators – who so far have been unable – and maybe unwilling – to address the problem.
With a new governor – Gretchen Whitmer — soon to take office, we hope to have this issue firmly addressed.
We owe it to our pensioners to make sure a deal is a deal. They worked here with the understanding that they would be provided for after retiring.
Yanking those pensions away or severely reducing them would be cruel and irresponsible.

Nov. 16, 2018

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