Dozens of Fire & Police Retirees Attend Budget Hearing
Hamden fire and police were well represented on Tuesday evening at the Hamden Middle School, as dozens of retirees from both departments gathered to urge Hamden's Legislative Council to adequately fund Hamden's pension plan. The occasion was the Council's public hearing on Mayor Scott Jackson's proposed town budget for 2012-13.
The Mayor's budget calls for a $9.3 million infusion into the Town's pension plan. But the pension plan is likely to exhaust more than twice that amount during the coming fiscal year. The Town's contribution for the current fiscal year was only $3.3 million.
Speaking before the Council, HFRA spokesman Dave Johnson stated that the Town's pension funding has not kept pace with the rising number of retirees during the past 20 years, and emphasized that the problem was created entirely by the Town, not by Hamden's firefighters or police officers.
Police retirees Bob Maturo and Tony Mace also addressed the Council on the importance of maintaining the pension funding at proper levels and keeping the promises made to Hamden's police and firefighters. Maturo stated that, given the severity of the underfunding, the remedy may have to be combination of funding and bonding.
The history of Hamden's underfunded pension plan goes back to 1975, when the Town agreed to pay firefighters' and police officers' individual pension contributions in addition to its own - and then failed to do so.
Since 1992, the Town's yearly pension contributions have been either inadequate or nonexistent. Hamden's fire and police agreed to the resumption of co-paying their pension contributions in the late 90s. However, in the three fiscal years between 1999 and 2002 the Town's contribution to the pension fund was zero. (See full remarks and Ann DeMatteo's Register article by CLICKING on the images to the right.) We'll keep you posted.