"That means we do have an ability to pay some bills beyond the payroll," Lillie said. "It's just going to be better in terms of making government work. It eases the crunch."
Specifically, about $30 million will be paid out to health and human services providers who have not been paid since September, she said.
The February payments to the pension fund would complete the roughly $90 million fiscal 1991 obligation to the fund originally due in June, until Gafni ruled that the amount did not have to be paid in a lump sum. The last of three installments - about $29.3 million - was due Thursday, but the judge granted another reprieve.
In the settlement, the city also agreed to prepay $54 million toward its fiscal 1992 pension-fund obligation of $194 million. It promised installments of $8 million on April 15; $23 million on May 15, and $23 million on June 15.
The action on the pension payment stems from lawsuits - brought by the city's municipal, police and firefighters' unions and by the pension board - seeking to force the administration to make good on the roughly $90 million bill originally due last June 30.
The judge's order was appealed yesterday afternoon by the Fraternal Order of Police, which objects to any delay in payments to the fund.
"Up until relatively recently, pension funds were viewed as sacrosanct," said FOP attorney John K. Weston. "Now, when municipalities get into trouble, it's a big chunk of money sitting there that they can try to play with."