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Bd. of Trustees v. City of Rockford

OPINION FILED MAY 6, 1981.

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE POLICE PENSION FUND OF ROCKFORD ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE CITY OF ROCKFORD ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Winnebago County; the Hon. JOHN C. LAYNG, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE UNVERZAGT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund of Rockford, Illinois (hereafter Police Board), and the Board of Trustees of the Firemen's Pension Fund of Rockford, Illinois (hereafter Firemen's Board), appeal from the order of the circuit court of Winnebago County dismissing their petition for a writ of mandamus.

The writ of mandamus was sought by the Police Board and the Firemen's Board to compel the City of Rockford (hereafter City) to levy a tax in conformity with their interpretation of certain provisions of the Illinois Pension Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 108 1/2, par. 1-101 et seq.). In May of 1980, the Police Board reported to the city council and responsible city officials that, based on actuarial computations of the Illinois Department of Insurance, the sum of $1,895,180 must be levied by the city council to meet the obligations of the police pension fund, including reserve requirements as determined by the Illinois Pension Code. The city council, however, levied only $1,115,987 for the police pension fund for 1980 and refused to amend the tax levy to the amount of $1,895,180 sought by the Police Board. The Firemen's Board in May of 1980 reported to the City that the sum of $2,184,235 must be levied by the city council to pay all pensions and obligations of the fund and meet statutorily designated requirements for reserves. The city council, however, passed a tax levy of only $1,574,920 and likewise refused to amend this tax levy in accordance with the report of the Firemen's Board.

The Police Board and the Firemen's Board contend that the city council is required by the language of the financing sections of the Act (section 3-125 for police pensions and section 4-118 for firemen's pensions) and the reserve sections (section 3-127 for the police fund and section 4-120 for the firemen's fund) of the Act, to levy a tax in the amounts determined by the trustees of the respective funds.

Section 3-125 of the Act reads in part as follows:

"Financing. The city council or the board of trustees of the municipality, as the case may be, shall annually levy a tax upon all the taxable property of the municipality at the rate on the dollar which will produce an amount which, when added to the deductions from the salaries or wages of policemen, and receipts available from all other sources as hereinafter referred to, will equal a sum sufficient to meet the annual requirements of the police pension fund. The annual requirements to be provided by such tax levy shall be equal to the reserve prescribed by Section 3-127. The tax shall be levied and collected in like manner with general taxes of the municipality, and shall be in addition to all other taxes now or hereafter authorized to be levied upon all property within such municipality, and shall be in addition to the amount authorized to be levied for general purposes as provided by Section 8-3-1 of the Illinois Municipal Code, approved May 29, 1961, as amended."

Section 3-127 provides as follows for police fund reserve:

"Reserve. The Board shall establish and maintain a reserve to insure the payment of all obligations incurred under this Article. The reserve shall be not less than $10,000 for each policeman and each beneficiary in each of the municipalities subject to this Article; provided, that the reserve to be accumulated shall not exceed the estimated total actuarial requirements of the fund.

For the purposes of this section the several children of a policeman shall be considered as a single beneficiary.

In a municipality having a reserve less than the actuarial requirements of the fund, the Board, in making its annual report to the city council or board of trustees of the municipality, shall designate the proportionate amount needed annually to insure the accumulation of such actuarial reserve over a period of 40 years subsequent to January 1, 1980, in the case of pension funds in operation on that date, or subsequent to the date of establishment in the case of a fund created thereafter, to the end that an actuarial reserve will be attained in such a period."

The corresponding sections treating with firemen's pensions are not identical to the above. Section 4-118 of the Act reads in part as follows:

"Financing. The city council or the Board of Trustees, as the case may be, of the municipality shall annually levy a tax upon all the taxable property of the municipality at the rate on the dollar which will produce an amount which, when added to the deductions from the salaries or wages of firemen and receipts available from all other sources as hereinafter referred to, will equal a sum sufficient to (1) meet the annual requirements of the pension fund; and (2) provide actuarial reserves for the annuities and benefits to be earned by the firemen during the year, and said actuarial reserve requirements shall be computed at a rate of not less than 17.5% of the salaries and wages to be paid to the firemen for the ensuing year; and (3) provide for the amortization of the unfunded accrued liabilities, including liabilities on account of pensions and benefits in force on January 1, 1980, or which come into force at a later date in the case of funds created after said date, over a period of 40 years subsequent to January 1, 1980.

The tax shall be levied and collected in like manner with the general taxes of the municipality, and shall be in addition to all other taxes now or hereafter authorized to be levied upon all property within the municipality, and in addition to the amount authorized to be levied for general purposes, as provided by Section 8-3-1 of the Illinois Municipal Code, approved May 29, 1961, as amended, or as ...


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