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Minimum pension obligation approved by Williamsport city council

City Council approved a $4 million pension item Thursday, which is the minimum obligation to cover the city’s pensions for Bureaus of Police and Fire and its officers and employees.

The costs for the 2022 pension plans are $1.8 million for police, $1.1 million for fire and $1.1 million for officers and employees.

“It is about $1 million less than the 2021 minimum municipal obligation,” said Joseph Pawlak, city interim finance director.

The decrease, he said, was related to prior payments, assumption changes and past issues that have expired. Councilwoman Liz Miele, finance committee chair, explained what Pawlak meant in simpler terms.

“The annual minimum municipal obligation is current and deferred pension obligation,” she said.

It is to cover the existing pension obligation for next year but it includes the obligation because the city failed to pay pension funds fully going back decades, she said.

There were promised made but no laws to mandate funding pensions, so these annual costs to the city are a composite of current and prior year pension obligations, she said.

The council has the right to reopen the discussion on the minimum municipal obligation for 2022 up and until next year’s budget is passed, Pawlak said.

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