* Brian Brueggemann…
In 2018, Alton’s pension funds for firefighters and police officers had about $117 million in unfunded liabilities — the retirement money that will have to be paid to retirees.
But in June, the city cut that shortfall nearly in half. How? They sold the city’s sewer system to a company, Illinois American Water, for $53.8 million.
Godfrey also sold its wastewater system to Illinois American, for $13.5 million.
And now Granite City, which has $83 million in unfunded liabilities in its police and firefighter pension funds, is looking to sell part of its wastewater system.
But Kent Redfield, an expert in Illinois politics and government, warned that selling off city assets could be a bad move, particularly if the sale provides only a quick, bandage repair to a long-term pension problem. He said once a city sells its sewer system, there’s little chance the city will ever own it again.
“You can only sell your car once to make your house payment,” Redfield said. “Is it a long-term fix, or is it a temporary Band-Aid that kicks the can down the road?”
I’m not a fan of these sales. At all. But this isn’t about selling your car to make a house payment. It’s about selling your car to pay off as much as half your mortgage, which I’d say is not a terribly bad idea.
…Adding… I’m seeing a lot of comments like this…
This is exactly like the city’s parking meters
Nope. That’s ridiculous.
Mayor Daley spent all the parking meter money right away. The lease had no lasting value. If he had put the windfall into the city’s pension funds, Chicago would be a whole lot better off today.