Texas County Speeds Up Plan to Pay Down Pension Debt

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Officials in Dawson County, Texas have revised a plan to pay down pension debt this week.

Originally, officials planned to fully pay down the county’s pension debt over a period of 15 years. Now, the county plans to pay down its debt completely by 2018.

From the Seminole Sentinel:

The Commissioners’ Court approved a decision to pay in full a deficit in the retirement plan for county employees during the next four years instead of during a longer period of time. By paying sooner than later, the county will save $ 861,000 in the long run, said County Auditor Rick Dollahan. The new payment plan is a decrease from original 15-year plan.

“I think it’s a good return on our investment, said Court member Blair Tharp.

Employees receive benefits through the Texas County and District Retirement System, in which a percentage of their paychecks, chosen by employers, are deposited into their TCDRS accounts. The savings grow at an annual, compounded rate, and upon retirement, employees receive a benefit payment for life based on the final account balance and employer matching. Employers pay 100 percent of their required contribution rate each year. The current deficit does not negatively affect employees’ retirement plan investments.

“I don’t want our retirees to get scared or worried. We’re in great shape,” Dollahan said.

Currently, the plan is funded at about 80 percent; the county plans to pay the deficit by 2018.

The Texas County & District Retirement System manages $23 billion in assets and works with 655 counties in Texas.

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