Sarasota News Leader

10/26/2012

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A DIFFERENT TAKE The Sarasota City Commission mulls matters during a regular meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel FIREFIGHTERS' PENSION BOARD CUTS RATE OF RETURN AND MULLS A POTENTIAL SNAG WITH THE COUNTY By Stan Zimmerman City Editor The City of Sarasota Firefighters Pension Board has complied with a city request to drop its estimated rate of return, but in a way unlike the two other boards overseeing city pensions. Facing millions in pension shortfalls, the City Commission recently requested all three boards cut their estimated rates of return on investments to 7 percent. Two did so – the Po- lice Pension Board and the General Employ- ees Pension Board. Each of the three boards is totally indepen- dent, a fact that manifests itself in various ways. For example, the Police and General Employees boards exclude management and operational fees from their expected rates of return. The firefighters pension fund includes a fee of one-half percent. Therefore, the Firefighters pension plan rate of return at 7 percent translates into an actual rate of return of 6.5 percent, once the manage- ment and operational fees are subtracted. The board recognized that difference and voted on Wednesday, Oct. 24, to cut its estimated rate of return to 7.5 percent. "If we do 7.5, it is the same as 7.0 with our methodology," said the pension board's chair-

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