Plainville, MA Joins Trust Fund Aimed at Cost of Retiree Benefits

Categories: New England Developments,OPEB/GASB 45/75,PARS In the News
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The Sun Chronicle  by Jim Hand, May 18, 2015

Selectmen voted Monday to make Plainville only the third town in Massachusetts to join a regional trust fund aimed at paying for the future costs of retiree benefits.

The trust fund was formed by Plymouth County Treasurer Tom O’Brien in January, and since then the towns of Wareham and Carver have joined.

O’Brien said he believes about 100 communities will join within the next three years.

The move was recommended by Plainville Treasurer Kathy Parker. She said cities and towns are facing massive liabilities for retiree benefits other than pensions, such as health and life insurance.

“Everybody who is serious about finance is talking about this. They’re sweating it out,” Selectman George Sutherland said.

Parker said Plainville has a projected liability of $14 million in non-pension retirement expenses.

The town has only put away $15,000 to prepare, she said.

O’Brien said small towns such as Plainville face enormous costs to start their own trust funds.

They must hire lawyers to write documents, comply with a number of state and federal laws and hire someone to do the investing and administrative work, he said. Most small towns cannot afford that.

He helped Plymouth County form a plan with a firm called Public Agency Retirement Services. The firm handles all the administrative work and has 174 towns nationwide in its system.


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