FILE PHOTO: Meriden City Manager Guy Scaife listens as resident speaks during the public comment portion of the City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. | Richie Rathsack, Record-Journal
April 19, 2017 11:39PM
By Leigh Tauss
MERIDEN — City Manager Guy Scaife recommended to the City Council finance committee Wednesday reducing payments to the city’s Other Post Employment Benefits trust fund as a cost-saving method to lighten the burden on taxpayers on what is now expected to be at least a $194.7 million budget. Scaife initially released a near-flat $191 million spending plan, but stated early in the process that the budget was subject to change.
The city contributed $3.25 million into the OPEB trust fund in the 2015-16 fiscal year, however Scaife said “aggressively” growing that fund has come at the expense of other, more pressing operational items as the city already has a “pay-as-you-go” method for funding the benefits. Scaife proposed freezing funds to the account at $2.4 million for the current fiscal year and using the leftover $800,000 to fund capital expenditures. For the 2017-18 fiscal year, Scaife suggested dropping the payments into the trust fund to $500,000 per year.
The account currently has more than $32 million and Meriden is ahead of most other municipalities in funding the account, according to data presented by Scaife, which showed 61 percent of towns in the state do not even have a trust fund account for OPEB.