Board of Trustees votes to authorize 1.5% COLA for January, 2007
At the November 15th meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Georgia Firefighters' Pension Fund, the Board voted to grant a cost of living allowance (COLA) increase of 1.5% in pension benefits, effective January 1, 2007 and payable January 31, 2007. With this increase, the full retirement benefit (with no options,) will increase to $849 per month from $836. The standard early retirement benefit (with no options,) will increase to $357 from $351. This is the eighth consecutive full COLA increase authorized by the Board since foregoing increases in 2002 and early 2003.
It is a pleasure for the Board to grant this COLA for our current and future retirees on the recommendation of the Fund's actuary, Buck Consultants, following their first COLA study since the merger of the Class 1-8 and Class 9 funds earlier this year. This study, while confirming the affordability of the current increase, also has noted its cost to be 10% more than the COLA provided during this same time period in 2005 due to factors which include the merger of the two funds, population growth and interest growth on liabilities. Lower percentage increases were presented by the actuary but the highest amount was selected by our board as a result of successful internal cost containment efforts, higher tax receipts and good market performance. It is the Board's desire to provide an improvement in our benefits whenever possible while ensuring the Fund's future well-being. With that in mind, we, together with our actuarial professionals, will continue to perform relevant research and diligently evaluate each decision that is made in the interest of the long-term health of our Pension Fund.