A bill meant to reform Galveston’s police pension plan moved forward this week with approval from a state Senate committee.

The unanimous approval sends the bill from the State Affairs Committee to the Senate floor.

The bill, authored by Rep. Dan Flynn, outlines a new structure for island officers’ pension plan, a system that’s accrued $32.1 million in unfunded liabilities.

This plan will keep employees’ retirement out of risk and protect taxpayer money, City Manager Brian Maxwell said.

“This accomplishes all of those goals for our police officers and their pension is now secure,” Maxwell said.

Pension board Chairman Geoff Gainer couldn’t be reached Thursday, but in previous interviews has said he anticipates the bill moving forward.

The bill restructures the current pension system to bring it into state compliance within 30 years.

The new bill will raise the city’s contribution to the plan from 14.83 percent to 18 percent and will maintain officer contribution at 12 percent.

Raising the city’s contribution rate to 18 percent would cost the city between $400,000 and $500,000 more each year, city officials said. The city now contributes about $1.77 million a year and the proposed increase would push that to more than $2 million, city officials have said.

The city and pension board had already negotiated an agreement that pushes the age of retirement for new hires from 50 to 55.

The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this month.

The legislation has come from two years of negotiation between city officials and the police pension board.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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