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A $3.5M hit

Published August 19. 2011 05:03PM

Carbon County retirement board officials are ready to get off the volatile roller coaster ride that its retirement fund has been on over the last few months.

During the monthly meeting of the county retirement board, Robert Crampsie, county controller, announced that the county's retirement portfolio value as of July 31, was $63,455,000; but over the last few weeks, as uncertainty continues in the federal government, the fund plummeted down to $60 million as of Aug. 17.

"It's been a roller-coaster ride," Crampsie said. "As you can see we gave back about $3.5 million, which I guess is relative compared to all the other retirement funds. We're hoping to see some stability soon."

Crampsie reported that the numbers in the stock market were looking a little better than they had, which means that things are improving slightly.

"I guess we're just in a period where there is so much uncertainty and I think that's what is playing into the market," he said. "People are just waiting to see if Washington can get together and get a plan. Once people know what the plan is, then I think there will be less volatility and hopefully we will get off this roller coaster."

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein said that he is hoping the county's retirement fund can quickly rebound, which it had been doing since the last downward spiral of the stock market in 2008.

"It could have been worse," Nothstein said of the $3.5 million drop. "I think other counties are hurting a whole lot worse than we are."

The Carbon County retirement fund has been on a roller-coaster ride over the last few years.

By the end of 2008, the fund's balance was $47,684,152, which represented a negative 24-percent return for the year.

In the first two months of 2009, the fund dropped even further, but beginning in March 2009, the county posted its first positive month in the stock market.

Since then, the fund had performed well, recovering all of the money that was lost during the recession two years ago; and hitting its all-time high of $66.78 million on April 30.

But uncertainty on the federal government level over the last few months, including the debt crisis and the credit rating downgrade has brought another wave of volatility to the stock market.

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