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$336 Million Released for Pensions, Volunteer Firefighters

2016-10-05 18:22:37

Auditor General DePasquale Announces Release of $336.5 Million in Aid for Municipal Pensions, Volunteer Firefighters Statewide 

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said he has released $336.5 million in municipal pension and volunteer firefighter relief association funds, which will help support emergency services and retirement plans for those who dedicated their careers to public service.

“These funds help volunteer firefighters be prepared to save lives and to protect property in communities across the state,” DePasquale said. “The money will be used to purchase life-saving equipment, fund critical training and provide insurance for thousands of volunteer firefighters and emergency service providers.

“The pension aid is critical to help municipalities maintain retirement funds for our dedicated police officers, firefighters and other public servants.”

As part of the 2016 allocation, 2,506 volunteer firefighter relief associations in 66 counties received $65.5 million in fire relief association funding.

Another $271 million in state pension aid went to 1,482 local government pension plans, including police, paid firefighters and municipal workers.

“Many communities rely on this pension funding to meet their retirement obligations. This money helps the tens of thousands of people who dedicated their lives to serving their communities,” DePasquale said, noting that the funding was distributed before the Oct. 1 deadline as the department finalized absorbing the work of the now-defunct Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC).

The former commission’s duties for municipal pension reporting and analysis were fully transitioned to the newly created Municipal Pension Reporting Program (MPRP) within the Department of the Auditor General’s Office of Budget and Financial Management, effective Aug. 1.

“Without the state aid some municipalities would not be able to meet their pension obligations and could incur additional interest expenses,” DePasquale said. “The smooth transition of PERC duties ensured the funding went out to municipalities on time. We are already working to modernize and streamline the former commission’s work to maximize its effectiveness.”

The state municipal pension and volunteer firefighter relief association aid comes from a 2 percent tax on out-of-state casualty and fire insurance premiums. The Department of the Auditor General distributes the funds to municipalities for police, paid firefighter and municipal employee pension plans. The volunteer firefighter relief association funds are allocated from municipalities to various volunteer firefighter relief associations designated to serve their communities. 

The Department of the Auditor General audits volunteer firefighter relief associations and local government pension plans. A report detailing the amount of state pension aid distributed to each municipality and funding for VFRAs is available online at www.PaAuditor.gov.

Reports, data, and documents for municipalities formerly located on the PERC website are now available online at: www.PaAuditor.gov, under the “News and Resources” tab.