Superior town manager addresses ad hoc committee on public safety retirement system

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Public officials attend an ad hoc committee meeting on the Public Safety Retirement System.

  Old firefighters never die. They just burn forever in the hearts of the people whose lives they saved.

  But what happens when they want to retire?

  That is the question that the Arizona State Legislature is trying to answer. An Ad Hoc Study Committee on the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System has been traveling throughout the state asking city and town officials their opinions.

  On Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. at the Globe City Hall Council Chambers, three of the towns from District 1 were invited to address the committee. The three towns asked to present to the committee were Globe, Miami and Superior. Seated on the committee are: David Livingston from District 22, David Stringer from District 1, Noel Campbell from District 1, Charlene Fernandez from District 4, Bob Thorpe from District 6, and David Cook from District 8.

  The statewide Public Safety Personnel Retirement system is critically underfunded and the cost of this unfunded liability has been passed onto the cities and towns in the form of extremely high pension payments. For the smaller towns this has created an extreme challenge coming up with the pension payments. For example, Globe unfunded liability is $10.8 million, forcing them to pay 60 cents on the dollar for every police officer.

  Mayor Al Grameros and Manager Paul Jepson from Globe focused on the difficulties their city has had working through solutions to the problem. Globe has been very proactive, creating a plan to pay down the liability and making a significant payment toward the plan, but the PSPRS structure has been difficult to work with, having few tools to help cities navigate through the problem.

  Miami Town Manager Joseph Heatherly focused on the numbers, breaking down the problems with the poor performance of the fund compared to other funds of the same type, and how this affected his town’s liability. He also stated that his town is facing significant challenges, with a shrinking population and failing infrastructure, and the town of Miami does not have the money to pay the high PSPRS rates and reimbursements.

  Superior Town Manager Todd Pryor discussed how these numbers affect the communities they serve, as well as the police and fire personnel in each of the communities. The small towns retirement benefits are too low to actually allow personnel to live on their retirement benefits, forcing the members to work longer and leave the small towns for greener pastures at high rates. The high cost of employment created by the ever-rising costs of medical insurance and retirement programs increases costs to not only the town, but to employees themselves. Mr. Pryor also discussed how these out of control costs will limit the Cities’ and Towns’ ability to grow and improve.

  The committee thanked the local executives for their testimony and mentioned of the four meetings they have held so far this was by far the most informative meeting.

Cat Brown (45 Posts)


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Additional Stories

    A Christmas Murder in Globe: The Owl Buffet Shooting

    January 15th, 2018
    by

    Early Christmas morning 1944, the Owl Buffet in Globe, AZ was the scene of a tragic shooting.   At around […]


    Superior Chamber to host 10th annual Superior Home and Building Tour

    January 15th, 2018
    by

      Have you ever wondered what the insides of some of the homes in Superior look like?    We have […]


    From Filmmaker to Artist: Exploring the World of Deborah Kay

    January 15th, 2018
    by

      Deborah Kay, artist and filmmaker, fell in love with Superior while out scouting for a new location for her […]


    In Your Biz: Superior Chamber of Commerce

    January 15th, 2018
    by

    The Superior Chamber of Commerce has been a leading organization in Superior for decades.  The organization formed to support and […]


  • Additional Stories

    San Manuel alum Warner Smith loses battle with ALS

    January 15th, 2018
    by

      All Warner Smith wanted was a fighting chance, and like he did on the gridiron at San Manuel High […]


    Along the Gila: Things are Coming Together for the Copper Basin Chamber

    January 15th, 2018
    by

    It did my heart good to observe the meeting of the Pioneer Days committee of the Copper Basin Chamber of […]


    HLI Copper Corridor graduates new leaders

    January 15th, 2018
    by

      The Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition has partnered with Valle del Sol for the past three years to host […]


    United States Forest Service finalizes plan to protect Apache Leap; approval comes after detailed consultation with stakeholders

    January 15th, 2018
    by

      The United States Forest Service has finalized plans for the Apache Leap Special Management Area (SMA) to protect the […]


  • Copperarea

  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • Southeast Valley Ledger