Largo Commissioners Discuss Retirement Fund for Public Safety Officers
By Kari Jo M. Rodgers
LARGO - Every year the city of Largo does a report on the retirement plan for the Firefighters and Police Officers. Kimball R. Adams, CPA, Director of the Management Services Department, shared information regarding the 2009 plan with commissioners.
A total amount of $1,475,319 will be available for police officers and firefighters new benefits if the current plan is adopted. Otherwise, this amount will remain frozen by the state. Mayor Pat Gerard and the other commissioners are still deciding on whether or not to send this money back, or to adopt a new plan.
The only other option that commissioners seem to have is to send the money back to the state. In this case, firefighters and police officers would not get any of the new proposed benefits, and as a result, retirement funds may end up being less than some firemen and police officers had originally anticipated.
The city may have access to $735,681 to pay for old benefits of retired police officers and firefighters. This is the amount of money that is estimated to be available from the state. The city would be able to split this money in half, in order to contribute to both the police officers and firefighters retirement funds. $432,273 would go towards the police officers retirement funds, while $303,408 would go towards the firefighters retirement funds. The city would be able to provide this amount, as long as they made up for "any decreases in state revenue."
On the contrary, this amount is considerably lower than what the city would have to offer if the state were to also unfreeze $1,475,319. If unfrozen, this money could be accessed and used for new benefits immediately.
In regards to the matter, "Commissioner Harriett Crozier asked Adams if the city received taxes of the state? Adams confirmed that this was the case.
Furthermore, while last year there was a loss of $834,799. This year there was a "net actuarial gain of $4,296,887." Therefore, 14.4 percent of that money ended up being the net rate of return. This percentage rate is based on assets market value."
In other news, Vice Mayor Andy Guyette is leaving the Largo commission for another position. At the end of the evening, he made a formal announcement to the other commissioners and to the citizens at the meeting. He thanked everyone for always making him feel welcome in the community, and further stated in reference to his service on the commission, "You should never give to anything unless you give it your all." Although Vice Mayor Guyette expressed sadness over deciding to leave the commission, he also conveyed a sense of ardor when talking about starting a new part of his life.
Later, Mayor Gerard addressed citizens by telling them, "if they were interested in the vacant commission seat, their resumes and applications should be submitted as soon as possible."
To learn more about what is going on with the retirement plans of Largo city workers, other money matters, and who will be elected to the next commission seat, be sure to keep reading the Clearwater Gazette.
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