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Retirement Fund still costing county money

Published November 20. 2009 05:00PM

Carbon County's Retirement Fund is overcoming a volatile economy, but figures are still costing the county more money.

During the monthly meeting of the county retirement board, Robert Crampsie announced both good news and bad news.

He said that the retirement fund portfolio value as of Nov. 18 was $57,939,942, up just under $3 million from the portfolio's value on Oct. 31.

"October was not a good month," he said. "We had a little bump in October but we picked it back up in November."

The portfolio value has been rebounding steadily since the start of the year.

A very volatile stock market in 2008 and early 2009, due to the shaky economy, brought the retirement fund balance down to near the $40 million mark by February before the increases over the last nine months. The county is still down $7 million from its high of more than $65 million in 2007.

In a related matter, Crampsie then announced the county's estimated annual required contribution (ARC) for the retirement fund in 2010 is $2.5 million, a $1.15 million increase from 2009. The estimate was based on the portfolio's September market value.

Two years ago, the county had to contribute $11,400 to keep the fund fully funded.

Crampsie said the ARC is determined based on the portfolio's value and performance. The county reallocated some of its funds this year, which also played a role in the ARC estimate.

Carbon County Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said the county has budgeted $1.4 million for the ARC in 2010.

"We budgeted what we believe we could afford," he said.

"The pension fund has caught up with the economy," added Ron Sheehan, county treasurer. He noted that as of Thursday, the county has paid off its 2009 ARC.

Crampsie said there are options that the county can utilize to lower its ARC.

He recommended that the board meet with its actuary early next year to discuss which option would be best for the county.

Funding for the ARC comes from the county's general fund, as well as other funds such as the Carbon County Prison and Weatherwood.

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