First COLA adjustment in 14 years
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond has proposed a two percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the county’s retirees and beneficiaries in the FY2019 budget amendment. If approved by the Board of Commissioners, the increase will become effective on July 1. The annualized cost of the adjustment will be $2.1 million.
“I am heartbroken that our 11,000 retirees and beneficiaries have been denied a cost-of-living adjustment since 2005,” said CEO Thurmond. “Eliminating a structural budget deficit and increasing the rainy-day fund have provided the county with the revenue needed to reduce DeKalb’s unfunded pension liabilities and finance a much-needed COLA.”
CEO Thurmond’s FY2019 budget recommendation also includes $9 million in additional contributions to strengthen the DeKalb’s employee pension fund. The annual contributions will reduce the county’s $1.2 billion unfunded pension liability. The administration’s recommendation is projected to fully fund the employee pension plan by 2043.
Additionally, the administration’s FY2019 budget recommendation includes funding to pay off a $12 million pension fund loan that was used by the county to finance a controversial early buyout plan for veteran employees in 2010. The loan indebtedness will be paid off 20 years ahead of schedule, resulting in a savings of $14.7 million in principal and interest payments.
Thurmond has prioritized fiscal integrity and accountability by eliminating a $24.7 million structural deficit, establishing a projected $103 million rainy-day fund and protecting the county’s infrastructure and financial assets.
This proposal will be discussed at the Board of Commissioners’ Finance, Audit & Budget Committee meetings on Friday, Feb. 22, and Monday, Feb. 25, in the conference room on the fifth floor, Maloof Building, 1300 Commerce Dr., Decatur.
The budget will be voted on by the Board of Commissioners no later than Feb. 28.