The Carbon County retirement fund will shell out nearly $1 million to former county employees.
During the monthly meeting of the retirement board, Robert Crampsie, county controller and secretary to the retirement board, announced that 134 out of 185 Weatherwood employees have returned their retirement option packets. The packets explained, based on years of service, what options were available to each member.
Of that total, Crampsie said 42 of the former county employees decided to vest their money; 48 will take a refund of their contributions; 35 have decided to retire; and nine are pending retirement.
He noted that the payout option for benefits will be $729,426 and refunds will be $241,410. That means the county's total payout to Weatherwood employees, which were separated from county service on July 1, the day Carbon County transferred ownership to Weatherwood's new owner, Guardian Elder Care of Brockway, will be $970,837.
Last month, Crampsie announced that the retirement payouts will not hurt the county retirement fund.
"We have enough in the fund not only to meet our current, but all future liabilities," he said during that meeting. "(The Weatherwood retirement benefit payout) is going to lower our assets, but it will also lower our liabilities. As we start paying out these retirement benefits, and see our asset value going down, on the other side of the ledger we see our liabilities going down. If a member has $100,000 in their retirement account, we're listing that as $100,000 asset; we're also listing that as a $100,000 liability. As they leave, the asset goes away, and the liability goes away."
Crampsie also noted this month that the county's retirement portfolio continues to ride a very volatile financial roller coaster.
The portfolio value as of Aug. 31 was $56,198,792, Crampsie explained, noting that for the month of August, the county lost about $2.5 million.
But, the fund is rebounding again. As of Sept. 14, the value was back up to $58,237,810.
"As you can see the market continues to show volatility," he said. "We just need to ride this out."
The county's portfolio has been in a very rocky trend as of late due to an unstable stock market.
The very volatile stock market, which began in 2008 as a result of the shaky economy, brought the retirement fund down to a starting balance of $47,684,152 and left the county with a negative-24 percent return in 2008.
The downward spiral continued through February 2009 but ended in March 2009, when Carbon County posted its first positive month in a long time. Since then, the retirement fund portfolio has been performing rather well overall.
In April, the portfolio hit the $60 million mark briefly before being hit hard in May and again in June. The county is still down over $7 million from its high of $65 million in 2007.