Retiree Benefit Issue Looms for Fall Town Meeting
The topic was a major point of concern at Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting as an article on the Fall Town Meeting warrant hopes to address the issue by investing with the State Retirees' Benefits Trust Fund.
Chelmsford’s Town Meeting representatives will gather in five weeks for the 2012 Fall Town Meeting, and it appears that benefits for municipal retirees will be a key issue on the Town Meeting warrant if Monday night was any indication.
Article 3 on the warrant, which focuses on the “Other Post Employment Benefits” or (OPEB) Liability Trust Fund, and would authorize the town to invest in the State Retirees' Benefits Trust Fund took up the majority Town Manager Paul Cohen’s overview on the warrant, which included issues such as the acquisition of land next to Sunny Meadow Farm and asking the legislature to extend the career of Fire Chief Curran.
Cohen told the board that investing into the state fund would help provide a greater return on investment due to its size and a full-time investment management board that the town would not be able to provide on its own.
OPEB, which consists of life insurance and health insurance benefits for retired municipal employees who worked full time more than 10 years in Chelmsford, but not pension obligations.
According to presentation from Town Finance Director John Sousa, OPEB’s impact on Chelmsford’s municipal budget could double ten years from now, and was a major issue of concern during the town’s recent bond rating assessment by Standard and Poor’s.
Currently funded on a pay-as-you-go basis, Sousa’s presentation indicated that 525 active and 723 retired Chelmsford town employees meet OPEB eligibility requirements, with the number of retirees projected to increase in the future.
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