LARKSPUR spent $1.5 million — about 12 percent of last year’s budget — to cover its pension costs. Officials in Marin’s cities and towns are searching for ways to rein in those escalating costs, which are consuming bigger and bigger shares of local government budgets — increasingly at the expense of jobs and important services.

Larkspur Councilman Larry Chu has stepped forward to lead such an effort, working with representatives from other Marin cities to explore ways to reduce pension costs. Those who have taken part in Chu’s crusade deserve credit for tackling this complex issue.

Chu led a committee formed by the Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers to look into reasons for the rising costs and possible ways to lower them. It was an opportunity for council members to compare notes and consider possible reforms.

Most cities are grappling with the budget problems created by defined-benefit packages and investments that in recent years have fallen far short of covering the cities’ share of the cost.

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