Beginning on July 1, local governments will contribute 18.96% of non-hazardous duty employees’ salaries to the pension fund, up from this year’s 16.93% rate. They also will contribute 35.76% for hazardous duty employees, such as police and firemen, up from 33.25%, according to a news report on Cincinnati.com.
The pension contribution rates have doubled since 2004, according to the Kentucky League of Cities, which estimates next year’s increases will cost cities $17 million overall, the news report said.
Across Northern Kentucky, the contribution hikes reach into the six figures. Covington will pay nearly $500,000 more than this year. Boone County’s pension contribution, now roughly $4.6 million, will rise by about $430,000 next fiscal year.
Since 2004, lawmakers have enacted reforms such as requiring employees to contribute a percentage of their pay toward retirement, and reducing pension benefits for future hires, but some officials have called for further reforms – especially to health care benefits, which make up an increasingly large part of pension costs.
CERS is separate from the Kentucky Employee Retirement System (KERS) for state government employees and requires local governments to fully fund the pensions, unlike KERS, which faces a $6 billion shortfall, according to the news report.