THE City of Greater Bendigo’s unfunded superannuation liability has cost ratepayers more than $2 million a year since 1998.
In a report to that went to council this week, it is revealed $14.2 million shortfall has been paid to the fund from 1998 to 2010.
This year, about $11m is unfunded, bringing the total since 1998 to more than $25m.
The superannuation scheme provides those who joined councils between 1947 and 1993 with a fixed super return on retirement, no matter how bad the investment returns are.
Any shortfall between what is owed and what the investments returned is paid by the council they were employed with.
The council will vote on ways to end the shortfall to ease the financial burden, and has been presented with a number of options.
Among them are options to lower spending across the council, borrow money and cut jobs.
However, the recommended option is to lobby the Federal Government to transition back to a stage-managed scheme.
This would mean removing the need for the fund to be fully funded.
Being fully funded means there must be enough money in the fund at the end of a financial year to fund the immediate payment of all the people in it, should they all retire at once.
That is an unlikely scenario and adds a significant burden to the costs.
The report also highlights the welfare of the 105 Bendigo council staff on the scheme.
It claims staff morale would drop if council had to incur extra costs to fund the shortfall.
“The emotional wellbeing of 105 City of Greater Bendigo staff needs to be handled sensitively and respectfully,” council Community Wellbeing director Pauline Gordon said.
“These officers have each served the community since 1993 or longer.
The average membership ... was 24.6 years at December 31, 2011.“The issue should not be a burden placed on their shoulders for a compulsory scheme they were required to join, nor any pressure placed on them to take personal action.”