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January 13, 1999
Commissioners' Conference Room - (Following HACSA)

Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.



Bill Van Vactor gave a presentation of the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) (copy in file.) He said Lane County's employer rate is 7.82% and the employees pay 6%. He said what Lane County did was set everyone's salary by 6% and then pay PERS. He added Lane County is a public government entity where the employees pay PERS. He said every two years the PERS Board hires an actuary to do a study to see whether they are actively funded to meet the benefit requirements, and if they are not adequately funded, what changes need to be made. He reported a study was performed and there were three key findings. He stated the price tag from House Bill 3349 is $1.3 billion. He said the legislature's solution (since they had to pay back the remedy) was to tax the benefits in the general fund and make up the difference out of the employees own retirement money. He said the solution is to tax everybody and then give a benefit increase, which is House Bill 3349. He said the increase in benefits to Oregon retirees is to cover their new tax obligations. He said the other finding is that there had been substantial investment gains, (21% in 1996 and 18% in 1997) and the real surprise to the PERS Board and to the actuary is that there is a dominance of benefits. He said there is a full formula, a full formula plus annuity and the money match benefit. He said in the past almost everyone retired with full formula which was 1.67 times the number of years of service with the three highest years anywhere in their career. He said with that calculation, there would be a retirement salary between 60 and 70% of the three highest salaries. He added the theory was when there is Social Security, that kicks in, and there would be 75% to 80% of the highest point in salary and that was an adequate retirement income. He said money match doesn't do that. He said with money match they take what is in the employee's account (just what is employee paid) and the public employer matches that when a person retires, calculates interest earnings at 8%, divides the annual income by 12 and that is what the monthly check would be. He added what is not clear with money match is the employer's cost of 2% COLA that is guaranteed to all PERS retirees each year, the cost of health insurance, disability and administrative costs. He said what the actuary said was to really cover the cost, the employer doesn't have to match the 6% but the employer would have to contribute 9% because of the additional cost of living.

Van Vactor reported that yesterday Lane County appeared before the PERS Board with the Cities of Eugene and Portland and EWEB because they had all filed petitions of reconsideration. He said the PERS Board heard Portland's and EWEB's petitions; however the Attorney General advised them that the City of Eugene's was two days late and Lane County's was one day late. He said there is a 60 day statute of limitations, the PERS Board took the action on October 6, and 60 days later fell on a Sunday. He added Lane County mailed theirs on Friday, December 4, and they received it on Monday, December 7. He said the Attorney General did not think the petition was timely and was not aware that Lane County had also faxed its petition on Friday, December 4. He said Lane County will be filing something this week to establish the timeliness.


Sorenson reported the Oregon Geographic Games Board is chaired by Lewis McArthur and he is bringing to the Board's attention that the U.S. government Geographic Names Board is under a federal statute that requires action by a County Board of Commissioners, if they have a change of name of a geographic feature within a County. He added there are three geographic features in Lane County. He also said they wanted to know who their contact was. He thought it was Land Management or Public Works.

Green distributed the letter from Lewis McArthur (copy in file) so the Board could review it.

There being no further business, Commissioner Green adjourned the meeting at 4:05 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary

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