County saves long-term for fiscal health

Responsible fiscal management has been at the forefront of York County government during the last two years. Officials have improved the financial state of the county, better positioning it for future security and sustainability.

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While some decisions can offer short-term fixes, the county has avoided such moves that can be viewed as penny-wise and pound-foolish. Putting more money into the county’s pension is among those items. Our finance team has decided to fully fund the annual actuarially-determined contribution to the pension plan, an annual cost in excess of $12 million. The county has changed the way its pension assets are valued to reflect generally accepted accounting principals as well as other assumptions used to calculate the pension liabilities. This is being done to avoid the pension crisis being experienced by many other municipalities and states across our nation.

This is a more accurate reflection of where we really are and it’s the fiscally responsible thing to do, according to Mark Derr, county administrator.

As the county looks for new ways to save money, officials are equally concerned with improving its financial health. This can cost money upfront, but save over a long-term period through reduced interest or simply paying costs before they spiral out of control. Below is a list of recent financial successes realized by York County government.

  1. County fleet vehicles have been placed on a planned replacement schedule. This saves dollars on costly major repairs while providing more fuel-efficient and safer vehicles for our employees. It also provides more reliable transportation for employees who use the 240 county-owned vehicles.
  2. County facilities – 22 total – are maintained with money set aside for a long-term capital improvement fund. With this, the county can address unplanned building repairs like the new boilers – $840,000 expense – at the Judicial Center without taking on un-budgeted expenses. It also allows us to plan for and spread the costs of known repairs over multiple years.
  3. The county reduced its Other Post-Employment Benefits, OPEB, liability from $135 million to $84 million by establishing a trust fund and beginning to fund the previously unfunded liability. We also changed the insurance coverage for retirees from a self-insured to a fully-insured plan, adding to the reduction in the unfunded liability.
  4. The county reduced pension benefits for new hires beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Although this will not create an immediate savings, the county will recognize decreased pension costs over time from this change.
  5. Advanced refunding of the 2010 Series A bonds, saving $7.6 million.
  6. Switched plan administrators for the deferred compensation program offered to county employees. The switch resulted in better investment options at reduced fees for the employees participating in the plan.


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