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updated: 12/30/2013 3:07 PM

Island Lake officials to talk pension hole on Jan. 16

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  • Charles Amrich

      Charles Amrich

 
 

With a $389,000 hole in their police pension fund, Island Lake officials will hold a special meeting next month to discuss possible solutions.

The session is set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave.

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The shortfall in the pension fund, which provides monthly payments to qualified retirees, was discovered during a commissioned audit earlier this year.

Concerns about the village's finances and legal bills that totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years prompted the inquiry.

According to the report from George Roach Associates, the village received $513,316 in tax funds for the police pension fund between the 2010 and 2013 fiscal years. But of that sum, only $142,777 was paid into the fund, an estimated 27 percent.

The biggest discrepancy occurred in the 2011 fiscal year. The village collected $178,005 in taxes for the fund that year but didn't put a penny into the account, according to the auditor.

The missing payments occurred during Debbie Herrmann's time as mayor. She lost to current Mayor Charles Amrich this past spring.

According to the audit, payments to the pension fund started flowing properly in the current fiscal year, after Amrich took office.

The issue became public in late October, following media reports.

Amrich has pledged to make the fund whole. A solution hasn't yet been publicized.

If the village board begins to save money on legal expenses and other costs, Trustee Mark Beeson thinks it could take a couple years to accomplish the task.

"It's a lot of money," Beeson said.

Amrich, trustees, the village's finance director and treasurer and a representative of the police department will participate in the Jan. 16 meeting.

Island Lake's shortfall isn't unusual. Many suburban pension programs haven't been fully funded as costs have risen.

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