Pension Funding Places Charleston, WV on Likely to go Bankrupt List

Updated 4 years ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports

Moody’s , a bond rating agency, has, based on a Washington Examiner story, selected seven cities for review of their ratings. The Examiner added Charleston, WV to the list of cities likely to go bankrupt. The report prepared by stated that Charleston is not “attracting direct scrutiny from Moody’s for right now.”

The reason for its listing by the publication is that it has the worst funded pension system of any major city in the United States.  It has 24% of the funds necessary to cover about $337 million in pension debt, the article said.

Comparing the position of West Virginia to that of Illinois (which has the a lower pension funding ratio than W.Va.), the report concluded Charleston faces a stiffer challenge than Chicago due to “high levels of poverty and declining population.”

Moody’s has placed the following cities “on notice:”  Santa Fe, New Mexico,  Trenton, N.J.,  Cincinnati, Ohio, Minneapolis, Minn., Omaha, Neb.,  and Portland, Ore.  Providence, Rhode Island, was placed on the list by the writer also for the condition of its pension system.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, in a separate interview, debunked the article as based on a "fictional" circumstance, where pensions came due all at once, instead of over the course of 35 years.

Huntington had faced similar critical pension under funding prior to the legislative approval under the Wolfe Administration of a re-amortization  plan.

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