No pension contribution needed for GPCRDA this year

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 22, 2021

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GROSSE POINTES/HARPER WOODS — The Grosse Pointes-Clinton Refuse Disposal Authority Board got some good financial news at its most recent meeting Sept. 14 via Zoom.

No contribution is needed this year to the pension fund for the GPCRDA’s former incinerator employees, although the GPCRDA Board had set aside funds in the 2021-22 budget for such a contribution, if one was required.

Because the GPCRDA’s pension system is closed — there are no longer any employees contributing to it — the board is required to maintain pension funding at 120% of the plan’s actuarial accrued liability, according to officials at the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, or MERS, which manages the GPCRDA’s pension plan. As of the most recent annual actuarial valuation on Dec. 31, 2020, the GPCRDA’s pension was 131% funded, meaning no contribution was needed.

“Since the funding level is between 120% and 130%, no additional funds are required at this time, and no refund of excess funds can be requested,” wrote Matt Taylor, regional MERS of Michigan manager, in a July 27 letter to CPA Lynn Gustafson, who handles the financial records for the GPCRDA.

“We do not need to make a payment this year,” Gustafson told the board during its September meeting — the first board meeting since the MERS letter was sent.

“That’s great,” GPCRDA Board Chair Terry Brennan replied. “That’s good news.”

That means the GPCRDA now has excess funds that could be applied toward another expenditure. At a meeting May 18 by Zoom, the board voted unanimously in favor of a budget of $921,300 for the 2021-22 fiscal year. That budget included a pension contribution of $32,630.

After the September meeting, Brennan said the board had “no plans for (the pension funds) at this point.”

“I think it’ll go into fund balance for now,” Gustafson said of the 2021-22 budgeted pension contribution.

Other than Gustafson, who’s not part of the pension system, the GPCRDA no longer has any employees. The incinerator — which was located on a 64-acre wooded parcel in Clinton Township — ceased operations in 1999 and was demolished in 2001.