$1.6 Million Bill Tests Tiny Town and ‘Bulletproof’ Public Pensions


Loyalton, Calif., with a population of just over 700, has just four municipal retirees. When its City Council pulled out of the state public employees’ retirement system in 2012, its bill amounted to more than its total expenditures that year. CreditKevin Clifford for The New York Times

Until the certified letters from Sacramento started coming last month, Loyalton, Calif., was just another hole in the wall — a fading town of just over 700 that had not made much news since the gold rush of 1849. Its lifeblood, a sawmill, closed in 2001, wiping out jobs, paychecks and just about any reason an outsider might have had for giving Loyalton a second glance.

“It’s a walking ghost town,” said Don Russell, editor of the 163-year-old Mountain Messenger, a local newspaper that refuses, fittingly, to publish on the web…

$1.6 Million Bill Tests Tiny Town and ‘Bulletproof’ Public Pensions

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