PENSION CRISIS: Central Pa. municipalities, authorities hanging on

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The Pennsylvania Public Employment Retirement Commission in July issued its latest report on the state of municipal and public authority defined-benefit pension funds.

The total unfunded actuarial accrued liabilities, using 2011 data, are about $6.9 billion, said Bernard Kozlowski, deputy director for programs and technology. Philadelphia makes up about $4.7 billion of that total, he said.

Plans deemed "severely distressed" have pension fund assets of less than 50 percent of liabilities, according to PERC.

Twenty-six municipal plans across the commonwealth fall in that category. Scranton, which has long garnered the public spotlight because of its fiscally distressed status in the state's Act 47 program, is among the severely distressed. Its fund ratio on pensions is 34 percent, down from 47 percent two years ago.

The "moderately distressed" plans are less than 70 percent funded, and "minimally distressed" plans are less than 90 percent funded. Of the 158 Central Pennsylvania pension plans included in the report, 60 fell in the minimally distressed category.

Here is a breakdown of municipalities and public authorities in the report by county:

• Cumberland: 8 minimally distressed, 2 moderately distressed, 12 not distressed. Most distressed in the county: Mt. Holly Springs (67 percent)

• Dauphin: 8 minimally distressed, 1 moderately distressed, 13 not distressed. Most distressed in the county: Susquehanna Township (61 percent)

• Lancaster: 21 minimally distressed, 26 not distressed. Most distressed in the county: Strasburg (70 percent)

• Lebanon: 7 minimally distressed, 2 moderately distressed, 1 severely distressed, 13 not distressed. Most distressed in the county: Swatara Township (42 percent)

• York: 16 minimally distressed, 3 moderately distressed, 25 not distressed. Most distressed in the county: York (62 percent)

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