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City, State balance sheets face $11 billion in unfunded retirement

Posted: January 23, 2013 - 10:23pm  |  Updated: January 24, 2013 - 1:10am
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Juneau School District Board of Education President Sally Saddler talks about the district's strategic plan during a joint meeting of the Board of Education and members of the Juneau Assembly in the Assembly Chambers on Wednesday. Assembly members Loren Jones, left, Mayor Merrill Sanford and Mary Becker, right, are shown.  Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Juneau School District Board of Education President Sally Saddler talks about the district's strategic plan during a joint meeting of the Board of Education and members of the Juneau Assembly in the Assembly Chambers on Wednesday. Assembly members Loren Jones, left, Mayor Merrill Sanford and Mary Becker, right, are shown.

Recent changes to federal code could saddle the state and its schools and municipalities with over $11 billion in unfunded PERS and TRS liability.

If the new rules do not change by the middle of 2015, the City and Borough of Juneau and the Juneau School District will have to record unfunded retirement liability on their balance sheets.

“It is a big number,” Bob Bartholomew, City and Borough of Juneau finance director said at the Assembly Finance Committee on Wednesday. “It is probably several hundred million. It is not $800 million or $900 million but probably around $200 million.”

Bartholomew said it is uncertain whether the CBJ or state of Alaska will be on the hook to pay.

Alaska’s unfunded liabilities total $6.9 billion for its Public Employee Retirement System and $4.2 billion for the Alaska Teachers Retirement System.

“Our budget reserve doesn’t look so big at $17 million does it?” said Mayor Merrill Sanford.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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