It's no secret that people are living longer, but what that means for the costs of police and fire pension funds is not as clear-cut.

The Society of Actuaries said in a recent report that Illinoisans are living two years longer. Villages and cities that use that information to calculate their pension costs would need to pay more into police and fire pension funds.

Naperville City Manager Doug Krieger said, however, that the most recent numbers don't account for the stressful lives of police and firefighters, so the city won't use them.

"We look at reasonableness and want to ensure that any proposed change will most closely match actual experience," he said. "To use a new actuary table without evaluating its appropriateness is not only wrong, but a reckless use of taxpayer dollars."

Krieger said the city is looking into the feasibility of conducting a study to accurately represent the morbidity rates of police and firefighters. Until then, Krieger said the city will go off a 2000 study and adjust those numbers to reflect that people are living longer than they did 16 years ago.

Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of Truth in Accounting, said local governments should always use the most updated numbers.

"The most up-to-date schedule is what should be used because it reflects the true cost and the true liability of these plans," she said.

The Society of Actuaries is working on a separate study on morbidity rates for police and firefighters. A spokesman said they expect to complete and release the new actuarial table in 2018.

There is no standard that every city must adhere to when calculating pension costs.


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