Only in Pittsburgh would having your employee pension fund capable of covering 62% of its obligations be a good thing.
The city claimed in a letter to the state today that (if disputed parking revenue is included) the fund is more than 50% funded and should therefore avoid state takeover. Formal actuarial data won't be forwarded for a few days.
The Pittsburgh pension board today sent the state a letter saying the city's pension fund was 62 percent funded Dec. 31, well above the level needed to avert a fund takeover, city Controller Michael Lamb said.
Now, the state Public Employee Retirement Commission must review the board's report and rule on whether the city has met the minimum 50 percent funding requirement to avert a state takeover.
The decision will turn largely on whether the commission concludes that a pledge of future revenue -- more than $735 million in parking tax revenue over 31 years -- qualifies as a pension fund asset.
If so, that revenue stream will boost the fund's solvency level from 29.3 percent Sept. 30 to 62 percent Dec. 31, when council passed a bailout package using the parking tax money.
Under a 2009 state law, the city's pension fund had to be at least 50 percent funded Dec. 31 to avert a takeover, which city officials said would have dire financial consequences. The city had until the end of today to submit its biennial valuation report arguing that it averted a takeover.
Mr. Lamb said the city sent the commission some documents, including a letter claiming a 62 percent funding level. He said the board and its actuary still are completing some backup documentation, which will be provided to the commission in coming days.