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      Cranston mayor announces pension deal

      Cranston Mayor Allan Fung on Monday announced what he called a "breakthrough" deal involving the city's unfunded pension system that will save the city millions and property tax hikes for residents.

      The city had faced an unfunded liability of close to $300 million.

      Fung said cooperation with the police and fire unions made the deal possible. Union concessions included a permanent cap on cost of living adjustments.

      "We've known for a long time that there was a problem with the pension. We took the city to court in the 70s to fund the pension. We lost that. If we won that, we know we wouldn't be in this situation. We did lose it. We've always known there was a problem. We weren't crazy over the years. We weren't crazy that the city had to put millions in the pension when they had other things to do in the city, so that was really important to us," said Paul Valletta of the firefighters union.

      With 483 participants in the plan, it translates to major savings for the city.

      "With this agreement, it gets us down to where we are currently saving of about $6.5 million in this upcoming budget year alone. That's $6.5 million we don't have to raise in property taxes for our residents," he said.

      City Council President John Lanni said he doesn't foresee any problems with the final steps of making the resolution real.

      "Compromise doesn't make everyone happy, but this compromise is fair to everyone concerned. It's fair to the taxpayers, to the retirees and to the active members of the union," he said.

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