Local Pension Plans Prosper

By: Ashley Arnold Email
By: Ashley Arnold Email

Richard Jackson has worked as the city manager for Panama City Beach for the last 33 years. On Friday, he will hang up his coat and go into retirement.

"I won't be wealthy," he says, "I'll be comfortable and I think if anyone does that they'll be okay."

However, not everyone will be as lucky.

The state requires pension plans to reserve a certain amount of money for police and firefighters. When the money isn't there, some cities are forced to take the money from other employees.

Mayor Gayle Oberst says workers in Panama City Beach have no reason to worry.

"All of them, as far as funding ratio are doing well above what we expected," she says. "In some cases they're funded 97% to 103%, which is about as good as you can get."

City workers we spoke to agree saying they're happy with the way the city has handled their money.

"The people that we've dealt with over the years have been very solid with providing information so we can make decisions realizing that we may have to cut back," says Jackson. "We haven't had to do that because, as I say, I think we've dealt with pretty conservative people that kept us on the right track."

Like Panama City Beach, Panama City has a municipal pension and says it's not underfunded, despite receiving an "F" in a report released Wednesday by the Leroy Collins Foundation using information from their 2009 pension reports.

Lynn Haven city officials also contribute to a municipal pension fund. Mexico Beach, Parker, and Callaway are all part of the state pension fund.


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