Watchdog: Scranton made progress but pension woes linger

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a 63-page report Thursday on the Helen Thackston Charter School.
(FILE) Auditor General Eugene DePasquale releases a 63-page report on the Helen Thackston Charter School.

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s auditor general says Scranton has made some progress in paying its municipal pension debt, but serious funding issues remain.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says the city is making “incremental progress,” but looming increases in mandated pension payments could further weaken already underfunded plans.

A recent audit showed the city had funded less than half of each of its pension funds for police, fire and non-uniformed employees.

He says Scranton has the third highest unfunded pension liability in the state at $158.4 million in 2015, and needs to pay an additional $2 million this year and an additional $4 million in 2017 to meet its minimum payments.

Since taking office in 2013, DePasquale has warned lawmakers that municipal pension debt is putting municipalities and retiree benefits on shaky ground.

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