Council learns how much more pension plan could cost city

Posted January 11, 2018 at 2:18 pm

Albany City Council held a short first of the year meeting last Thursday, January 4 with five of six members on hand and limited items of business on the agenda.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Albany Mayor Nicky Smith reviewed a handout to council members from the Kentucky Retirement System, received back on December 11, 2017, detailing estimates of how much each city and municipality may have to pay to help fund the embattled and almost bankrupt state pension retirement system.

According to the correspondence from David L. Eager, Interim Executive Director of the CERS, in reference to employer contribution rates for fiscal year 2018-19:

“The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees establishes the CERS employer contribution rates pursuant to KRS 61.565 and 61.702. The most recent actuarial valuations were performed by the Kentucky Retirement Systems’ actuary, GRS Retirement Consulting, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017. The CERS employer contribution rates were approved by the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees and will be in effect on July 1, 2018.”

According to the estimates compiled by CERS, the City of Albany may be responsible for 46.2 percent of pension plan funding, or some $105,591 in actual out-of-pocket expense in the 2018-19 fiscal year, if changes to the figures aren’t made.

The pension system woes are troubling to both city and counties that pay, and have been paying into, the system over the years and will adversely affect local city and council budgets all across Kentucky.

The local estimates would mean a total of a little over 28 percent overall in more cost to the city for employee retirement.

The mayor and other council members did note, however, those totals could change as the General Assembly is currently in session with the pension system being a top priority issue they are trying to deal with and more will be learned officially when the legislature actually takes official action on the retirement plan during the session this winter and spring.

The council also held second and final reading granting a telecommunications franchise for high speed internet service to Duo County Telecom to run lines on city rights-of-way.

Officials said the work would begin in early summer and that Duo County looked forward to working in the Albany and Clinton County area and becoming “a good corporate citizen” in assisting the community.

Mayor Smith then updated the council on the most recent Christmas at Home food and toy drive, which was one of the most successful yet, and thanked everyone who helped in any way, whether it be in donations, volunteering, and also thanked city employees for making the food and toy deliveries to some 300 homes.

Pam Allred with the water department also gave another update on the city’s new water billing system, which began this month.

Allred noted that bills customers began receiving this week would look different, but there would be advantages to the new billing system in the months to come, including the ability to pay water bills online, in advance by debit card, etc. and more information would be made available to customers in the weeks to ahead.

The next regular meeting of Albany City Council is scheduled for February 6 at 5 p.m.