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Published On: Thu, Mar 30th, 2017

Mt Vernon retired firefighters will collect an estimated $18,989,716 more in pensions than they saved

Mt Vernon retired firefighters will collect an estimated $ 18,989,716 more in pensions than they saved from their own paycheks. Mt Vernon’s 25 retired firefighters saved just a total of $ 748,635 over their entire collective careers.

The same 25 individuals and their families are expected to collect nearly $ 19,738,351 in pension payments and health care benefits over their retirements, all funded by Mt Vernon taxpayers. That’s according to a SW Illinois News analysis of Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) filings, which oversees municipal pensions.

From 2005 to 2014, Mt Vernon taxpayers poured $ 12,925,363 into the ‘s police and fire pension funds. Active police officers and firefighters contributed $ 3,791,144, according to DOI.

But a 2015 DOI report confirms that with more than $ 8,514,447 in unfunded firefighter and police pension debt to go with $ 0 in bonded debt, a few million more wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

In 2016 alone, the 25 Mt Vernon retired firefighters collected at least $ 751,270 in benefits.

A typical retiree collects pension benefits for 30 years.

This funding deficit is filled, mostly unknowingly, by Mt Vernon property owners, who are led to believe these “funds” live on investment income. Rather, they are required to pay property taxes today for the retirements of firefighters who retired years ago, before they ever moved to the .

In fiscal year 2016, the $ 115,784,638 firefighters pension fund had $ 8,451,228 in revenue and $ 11,436,364 in expenses.

But the “revenue” wasn’t from investments — $ 6,958,129 of it, 82 percent, came from taxpayers.

Mt Vernon’s 67 active firefighters contributed 17 percent ($ 1,491,788) and the other 1 percent ($ 1,311) came from investment income.

The fund paid out $ 751,270 in pension payments to its 25 retirees, mostly with tax dollars.

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- Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed and is also general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks.

Mt Vernon retired firefighters will collect an estimated $18,989,716 more in pensions than they saved