DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond has proposed committing $9 million in additional contributions to strengthen the county’s employee pension fund.

The contributions will be made annually over the next five years to help reduce the county’s unfunded pension liability.

Thurmond said that DeKalb County’s goal is to get the employee pension fund on firm financial footing.

Michael Thurmond

Michael Thurmond

“The proposal is a long-term strategy to strengthen and stabilize the employee pension fund and ensure financial integrity in the fund going forward,” he said.

Thurmond’s pension proposal includes paying down existing debts and increasing the recommended contribution to 20.91 percent or $61,080,344 for Fiscal Year 2019. The county may also consider a one-time additional contribution at the end of the year if  reserves are available.

The retirement pension plan, valued at $1.2 billion, is currently funded at about 52 percent. Thurmond’s recommendation aims to fully fund the employee pension plan by 2043.

The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners will vote on the pension and Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal by Feb. 28.

More than 11,000 active employees, retired workers, and their beneficiaries are currently enrolled in the plan.  The proposal does not increase employee contributions to address the funding gap.

Thurmond has prioritized establishing fiscal integrity to county government by eliminating a structural deficit of $24.7 million, establishing a projected $103 million rainy-day fund, and protecting future investments.