Courthouse Square

Observer-Reporter

Observer-Reporter

Washington County’s Courthouse Square office building

Taxpayers at various levels are responsible for just over $3.9 million worth of contributions to the Washington County employees’ pension fund this year, according to a report discussed last week by a consultant with the county retirement board.

The figure is $3,909,029, almost $200,000 less than the original estimate by Korn Ferry human resource consulting, Philadelphia.

The actuarially determined contribution is estimated to be funded 75.7 percent, or $2,960,841 from the county general fund and 24.3%, or $948,188, will come from federal and/or state grant reimbursement or from a fund that is expected to cover its expenditures through operations, according to Joshua Hatfield, Washington County finance director.

Pennsylvania Act 96 of 1971 requires the county to have a defined benefit plan for employees, who must contribute no less than 7% of their compensation annually.

“To put this in perspective, in 2018 county employees contributed over $2.9 million to the plan with a $3.4 million actuarially determined contribution,” Hatfield wrote in an email.

The total value of the plan was $169.1 million as of June 30.

Last year, local taxpayers contributed $2.2 million to the employees’ pension fund.

The number of county employees decreased dramatically due to the sale of Washington County Health Center. Premier Healthcare Management Inc. purchased the 40-year-old facility in Chartiers Township for $25.35 million as 2017 drew to a close.

The county subsidized its operations with $9 million during the final five years of government ownership.

When it was owned by the county, it employed around 325 people.

Members of the retirement board who make decisions about county employees’ pensions and investments include the commissioners, controller and treasurer.

Controller Michael Namie’s office calculated a few years ago that, generally speaking, the average employee retiring from Washington County government will receive about $9,800 a year from the pension fund.

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