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Taxpayer contributions to Sonoma County pensions could rise by $13.6 million over next three years

A 49 percent spike in unfunded pension promises could drive up taxpayer contributions to Sonoma County government pensions by $13.6 million over the next three years.

The roughly 25 percent increase in county payments, triggered mostly by past investment losses, is contained in a new report accepted Wednesday by the board of the $2.05 billion county government pension system.

It comes on the heels of better recent earnings by the pension fund and overhauls last year by the state and county intended to lower taxpayer pension costs. Those costs are up 400 percent in Sonoma County since 2000 and have been a hot-button issue in political campaigns, with fiscal watchdogs decrying cuts to public services and staffing.

At least in the short term, taxpayer contributions to Sonoma County's pension fund will continue to rise, pension officials reported Wednesday.

The increase in pension costs could extend through mid-2017, county officials said.


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