PERS Funding | Lost Coast Outpost | Humboldt County

Robert Parton asks Natalie Arroyo, Kim Bergel, Mike Newman

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PERS Funding

How much money does The County owe PERS And how are you going to deal with it?

— Robert Parton

Response

Natalie Arroyo

Hello Robert,

The County’s pension liabilities are more than $300 million. Last year, the Board adopted a plan that included a long-term funding strategy. More recently, they have explored other forms of investments to address these debts. The City of Eureka, and all other public agencies in California, are in a similar position - in Eureka, we have committed to a series of “balloon payments” for the next few years that will ultimately help us reduce debt more quickly, paying it off by or before 2040. Eureka is also exploring other alternatives, including bonds and other funds that can help pay off these debts.

The challenges are significant, but all public agencies do owe our past employees their rightful benefits and need to continue meeting these obligations. However, we can’t focus only on paying off debt - it is imperative to me that we continue to serve our community’s needs, from economic development and public works to quality HR and expanding community assets. My approach to debt management for the County will be to make the largest payments we can afford, seek alternative strategies if they offer a low to moderate risk for our community, while working hard to make Humboldt County more prosperous and resilient over the coming years. 

Sincerely, Natalie Arroyo