On the eve of Mayor Pat Murphy's budget presentation, word came from the town's Pension Committee the plan is in good shape.

Committee chairman Tom Pilla told the Town Council Feb. 14 thanks to ongoing contributions over the past budget seasons, the plan has grown in market value by $4 million from July 2009 to July 2010.

The plan now stands at an actuarial value of $39 million and a market value of $34 million, reflecting 10.63 percent growth, Mr. Pilla said.

"The New Milford pension plan is currently healthy and in good shape," Mr. Pilla said. "What's important is to secure the town's assets in the plan."

"That has been done through investing in low risk trusts," he noted, "bringing modest returns."

There are currently 686 people in the plan, with 186 retirees collecting.

John Hancock is the fiduciary custodian of the plan, guaranteeing a 5 percent return.

Mr. Pilla said a close look at the plan was taken in the 1990s when he served on the Town Council and the attention given the plan has paid off.

-- Susan Tuz