Police, Fire pension fund assets top $1 billion

The assets of the Lexington Police and Fire pension fund recently topped $1 billion for the first time in its history, Mayor Linda Gorton said today.

In 2012, Gorton was part of a commission that recommended changes to resolve what was then a financial crisis in the fund, threatening the retirements of police officers and firefighters.

“This is a significant milestone in a reform that is having a profound positive impact on the financial health of the fund, and of our city,” Gorton said. “The changes that were made ensured that our first responders would have a safe and secure retirement.”

An actuarial study is underway get a better understanding of the fund’s long-term financial health. A previous study in 2020 estimated that it is 75% funded. “We won’t be satisfied until it is at 100%,” Gorton said.

Before reforms were enacted in 2013, the pension had an estimated $300 million unfunded liability. In addition to serving on the Commission that recommended the reforms, then Vice Mayor Gorton supported the change on Council.

Lexington’s Police and Fire Pension is unique in Kentucky; it is governed by KRS, but funded locally.

“By working together … community members, city and state government, and police and fire representatives … Lexington solved a problem that continues to challenge other cities,” Gorton said. “Everyone compromised a little to make progress for our City, and to protect our police and fire retirees.”