Friday, September 4, 2009
Retiree Benefits Cause Angst at Committee Meeting
A new GASB requirement (GASB Statement 45, ca 2004) concerning the accounting/reporting of retiree OPEB ("other than pension") benefits -- must be phased in this year: the City's Financial Officers revealed at last week's Financial Advisory Committee Meeting. Reporting Officer Fogarty: "We've been agonizing over this 5 years now . . . in Mayor's meetings . . . it seemed . . . maybe if everyone didn't like it . . . it would just go away." Treasurer Wilson: "We're required to report it . . . first time this year . . . the actuarial report was done in July." The purpose of the change, according to the GFOA (Gov. Financial Officer's Assn.), is to ensure such retirement benefits are "sustainable over the long run." The City's un-funded OPEB liability (primarily healthcare benefits) now stands at about $6 million-- growing about 1/2 million every year. Wilson: "The decision needs to be made if we're going to fund it (or not) . . . reduce our liability as we do . . . not in anyone's budget . . . really should fund it." Fogarty: "I'm glad its finally out." Committee Chairman Zunk: "This is a huge nut . . . gets bigger every year . . . must be addressed."