Now the city faces a rare and crippling crisis. On Jan. 1 city property values will decline immediately because higher taxes will be needed to stabilize its pension fund. All of that will occur because the state, in the new year, will be able to take over the pension plan since the mayor and council are nowhere near a deal that will deliver the $200 million-plus needed to bring the plan up to 50 percent funded, from the current 29 percent.
That takeover will mean the city will be forced by the state to pay much higher contributions into the fund year after year. The state doesn’t care where the money comes from — even if it means sharply higher taxes — only that the city shore up its pension program.
City Council members keep saying that such a hit won’t come for years, but that lackadaisical attitude is part of the reason they and the mayor have failed to find a compromise.