A key component to the town's future fiscal health will be on the table next week when the Legislative Council hears from the consultants it hired to advise it on whether it should consider pension obligation bonds.
The Segal Company will make the presentation to the council Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Miller Library Complex Thornton Wilder Auditorium.
Last May the council approved hiring Segal to investigate and report back on whether the town should consider pension obligation bonds to shore up its pension fund, which is about $300 million short of where it should be.
But if the town were to go with the bonds, it would not be for the full amount, but for only about a third of the shortfall. Other measures have to be taken, town officials have said, such as union concessions and changes to the plan itself, for it to stay solvent.
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The pension plan has been closed to new employees for several years. Newly hired employees are offered other options that do not add to the town's future pension burden, but the town is required to provide for those employees who were hired under the provisions of the fund or have already retired and are collecting under it.
If no action is taken and the fund is depleted, payments to retirees would have to be made from the operating budget, and taxes would have to increase to accommodate those payments.
The council will soon begin work on the 2013-14 budget and needs to decide how it will handle the issue of pension obligation bonds before that in order to know how much it needs to allocate to the pension fund. This year, it put $9 million toward the pension fund, those auditors recommended an allocation of $20 million.