The Gila County Board of Supervisors is astraddle a razor’s edge with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.
The county initially thought it owed $15.69 million to the fund.
But the BOS learned that number had become obsolete as it was based on June 2019 calculations. The amount now owed is about $900,000 more, according to Mark Reader, managing director of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, a brokerage and investment banking firm in Phoenix, which helped the county secure financing for its capital investments/improvement projects last year.
The increase was because of an actuarial review released Oct. 14, he said. It raises the amount owed the PSPRS to $16.59 million and will cost the county about $60,000 more a year.
Before Reader provided that information, the BOS approved a Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Contingency Reserve Funding. County manager James Menlove said $1.5 million would be allocated to the contingency, representing 10% of the total bond sale.
During the board meeting it was not stated where the additional $900,000 would come from — the bond sale or the contingency.
Despite the debt now nearly a million more than expected, the board moved forward to authorize the sale of the bonds to meet its obligation.
The BOS was advised to decide Oct. 20 in order to put the bonds out for sale Wednesday, Oct. 21. If authorization was not made, the sale could not take place until November. Menlove said this could cost the county thousands and thousands of dollars due to market volatility. Further, the vote needed an emergency clause, which requires all three supervisors to approve.
District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin was not in attendance at the meeting, so there was some discussion about the board enacting a rule that would let the clerk of the board vote in the event of a tie.
County attorney Jeff Dalton was consulted, but questioned why such an action was needed if the board members in attendance had already approved the authorization.
The matter did not have to go any further when Martin was contacted by phone and the board voted again on authorizing the bonds. It was approved unanimously.