Moraga-Orinda Fire District Begins Prefunding OPEB With PARS

Categories: California Developments,Hot Sheets,OPEB/GASB 45/75
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Located in the hills east of Oakland, the communities of Moraga and Orinda have proudly retained a semi-rural setting amidst their much more urbanized neighbors. As the increased demand for suburban living in the 1970s & 80s caused growth of surrounding communities, Moraga and Orinda pushed back on this trend, opting to incorporate as cities to increase local control over their communities’ way of life. One example of this independent spirit was the formation of their joint Moraga-Orinda Fire District (MOFD).

Before forming the Fire District, the previously separate Moraga and Orinda Fire Departments reported directly to the County of Contra Costa’s fire division. These two like-minded communities decided to create an independent special district. In 1997, citizens voted to break away from the county to obtain local control, improve efficiencies, and ensure property tax dollars allocated to fire protection remained in the communities that generated the revenue.

In 2013, with fifteen plus years behind them as an independent agency, Moraga-Orinda Fire District had made many improvements to their service to the community, but found itself with employee health care liabilities that were steadily increasing and significantly draining the general fund. The Fire District knew that several changes needed to be made, and ending the pay-as-you-go approach to funding these benefits was high on the priority list.

The next year saw MOFD actively working to improve their OPEB benefit liabilities on several fronts. After a new labor agreement was passed and with a larger than usual number of retirements, the Fire District found its financial resources generating a surplus. With this positive cash flow, MOFD decided it was time to set up an OPEB trust and begin prefunding. Searching for available options led to a meeting with PARS where they learned about PARS’ 19 years of OPEB prefunding experience and an OPEB trust program with over 140 client agencies. In addition to PARS’ experience and large client list, MOFD noted several other advantages to joining the OPEB Trust Program, including having the highest net return over five years, a favorable Private Letter Ruling from the IRS, full service approach and transparency of investments – making it possible to easily track their progress.

Ready to begin the OPEB prefunding process, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District Board of Directors voted to join the PARS OPEB Trust Program and start lowering their liabilities.

Is your agency ready to begin prefunding OPEB? Contact PARS at info@pars.org or (800) 540-6369 x127 with any questions or for a complimentary proposal.


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