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PERF presented to commissioners during Monday evening meeting

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It was standing room only at Monday evening’s Sullivan County Commissioners meeting. Many of those in attendance there for one reason: to hear a presentation regarding the Indiana Public Retirement Fund. 

Curt Bedwell exceeded the 30-minute time slot he was given by Commissioner President Bob Davis. 

Bedwell attempted to convince the commissioners that PERF is a much-needed benefit that should be extended to Sullivan County employees. This presentation was a replica of one previously presented to several county employees. 

Bedwell’s presentation consisted of two options offered by PERF that he feels would be the best for employees based upon a study he conducted. 

According to Bedwell, there are two options that would best benefit the employees of Sullivan County: Hybrid and MyChoice. 

Should Hybrid (pension plus retirement savings) be selected, up to 10 years of the employee's past service credit would be applied, the employee would have a cost of 3% of their pay and if eligible, they could retire with six months after enrollment.

With MyChoice, they would receive 6% of their retirement savings and the employee would have zero cost, but could invest additional money up to 10% of their gross pay. 

Bedwell said the benefits of implementing PERF as defined in his study included the following.

  • For those ready to retire, it will make it much easier and they would be more likely to be able to retire sooner.

  • As people retire, insurance costs will likely be adjusted down considerably, maybe even as low as 50% or more of the current costs (delayed result could be close to $1,000,000 in cost savings).

  •  Being employed by the county becomes more enticing.

  • Longevity as an employee becomes more enticing.

Bedwell believes that as many as 25 employees would be ready to retire within eight months and another 20 would eligible to retire within three years. 

PERF has already been implemented in 89 of Indiana’s 92 counties; implementing it would initially cost Sullivan County approximately $1,069,351. 

“If it was easy, we would have already done it,” Bedwell said. “I mean, just because we're one of three that hasn’t,  doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for us at this point. 

“They’ve all done it at some point. It’s been painful when they’ve done it, but they’ve done it.”

Bedwell mentioned that the EDIT tax and an insurance fund could be used to cover this cost. 

Members of the audience had differing opinions on the matter. 

Donna Adams, who has worked at the Sullivan County Public Library for nearly 30 years and has invested in PERF, called its implementation in Sullivan County a “no-brainer.”

“It’s time for people to be able to get something when they retire,” Adams said. 

Duane Wampler, president of the Sullivan County Council, spoke from the audience, stating, “I just hope you remember the other 19 to 20,000 people in this county.

“I want them to have what’s rightly theirs, but we got to remember the taxpayer, too.”

When all the smoke cleared, Councilman John Waterman made a motion for a committee to be formed to gather figures to see what it would look like to realistically implement PERF. The committee will discuss its findings during a special meeting on Nov. 7. 

In other business:

  • Tooger Smith presented a request for permission to use the county’s right-of-way to install a water line along CR 375. This will be tabled until the next meeting. 

  • Butch Hayes and Lynne Steppe discussed American Senior Benefits with the commissioners. 

  • The commissioners granted the Tourism Commission of Sullivan County permission to have a tab on the county’s government website.


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