Peoria Firefighter's Pension Fund Prepares for "Worst-Case Scenario"

Apr 2, 2020

The city of Peoria is preparing for what happens if it doesn't receive state revenues for its firefighters' pension fund on time due to the COVID-19 money flow crunch.

City treasurer Patrick Nichting said Thursday it's possible the state will kick the can down the road on its June installment of property tax payments, and also keep money from the personal property replacement tax, or PPRT. He said other states already are looking at these options - and Illinois may be next.

"If the state needs the money, you know what they do? They cut our throat. This is the problem with the federal funding that's been proposed is that the state's taking the money and they're not saying if they're going to be distributing it to local municipalities," said Nichting.

The Firemen's Pension Board voted Thursday to move $3.3 million into a more accessible money market fund that will allow for continued timely pension payments through July in the worst-case scenario of no state revenues coming in.

"We need to be in a position if PPRT doesn't come, the state shuts it off, if real estate taxes are kicked down the road, don't know what that means, we're going to need more liquidity," Nichting said. 

About $9.5 million in total payments to the fund is due through the end of this year. The firefighter and police pension funds are the city's largest outstanding financial liabilities.