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Pension Mess Drags On As Clock Winds Down To Deadline

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As expected, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl vetoed Wednesday’s council plan to keep the city’s pension fund from a state takeover.

He said the plan had “fatal flaws.”

It turns out the mayor was right, although not as anyone expected.

“Their calculations have been in error and their method of doing this has been in error,” The Rev. Ricky Burgess, Pittsburgh City Councilman, said.

The error came from a state official who told council they could use a lower discount rate than is normal. Now, council has to redo the numbers, pass the revised plan, get the mayor to veto it since he refuses to sign it and then override the veto by midnight Friday.

Having discovered the error, council recessed quickly to figure out how to start all over again with new numbers.

What it means for the rest of us is increased parking garage and meter rates as more money from the parking tax will have to be dedicated to keep the pension fund from state takeover.

But with the mayor washing his hands of it, council sees no alternative.

“I think this is my sixth mayor,” Firefighters Union President Joe King said. “This is really out of the ordinary of what, these transactions and how business by the executive branch of the government, how this has been handled.”

Council has met and has prepared yet another plan that corrects the old one. This one requires more money from the parking tax over the next 30 years.

Council will meet at 1 p.m. Friday to pass the new measure. The mayor will veto it and then council has called a meeting for 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

Council is expected to override the mayor’s veto with just minutes to spare before the state is mandated to take over the pension fund.

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