Pension Bill Benefits City | News, Sports, Jobs

If you had asked Wheeling city leaders not too many years ago to list their top tax concerns, funding for police and fire service pensions would be at the top of the list.

But thanks to the efforts of City Manager Robert Herron and others, the law signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice this month could finally help solve the mystery of Wheeling’s unfunded liability pension completely.

West Virginia House Bill 4756 is Herron’s idea. He worked with Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio, Chair of the House Pensions and Retirement Committee, to introduce the legislation, with Storch guiding her through the legislative process.

Herron said the legislation will benefit Wheeling and its taxpayers by reducing the city’s annual contribution to fire and pension funds.

“This law gives West Virginia communities the ability to sell pension obligation bonds to fund unfunded liabilities as long as each fund is 40% funded,” Herron said, noting that Wheeling is currently the only West Virginia city reaching this threshold in both funds. “This is an actuarially sound and conservative approach to unfunded liabilities while taking advantage of low interest rates.”

Councilman Dave Palmer, who has campaigned for the city’s fire department on the pension issue for years, called the law a “win” for Wheeling.

“This is great news for residents and the city as a whole,” Palmer said. “I want to thank everyone for the extremely hard work they put into it. This will be a win for the City of Wheeling and its residents through a cost savings measure.”

This is another fine piece of work from Herron, who continues to push for new ideas that Wheeling will benefit from.

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