Picente: County Pays Off 2015 Amortized Retirement Payment 10 Years Early

Paying Off Amortization Bill Early Saves Taxpayers Half A Million Dollars

County Executive Anthony J. Picente announced today that Oneida County paid off $4,315,349 in amortized state retirement payments from 2015, 10 years ahead of schedule. The amortization of retirement bills has been an approach used since 2011. By paying the $4,315,349 in less than one year instead of the ten years allowed by law the County saves taxpayers $689,517 in interest payments.

Picente said “We are mandated to make retirement payments to the State, even though we have no control in how the fund is managed or what it invests in. Over the past 10 years those yearly payments have gone from $0 to $14,000,000 with no decline in sight. The State’s Amortization tool has been the practical and fiscally responsible approach to relieve taxpayers from this crushing and reoccurring burden. 

This payment covers the entire remaining amount of amortized payments from 2015.

Comptroller Joseph Timpano said “Amortization and quick turnarounds on payments is what any good accountant would advise in order to save their client money. In this case the taxpayer is the client and this is the exact right move. We smooth out an ever increasing annual outgoing expenditure while not crippling the programs and efforts being put in place to move this county forward. I commend the County Executive for this steady and continually fiscally conservative and prudent approach to public finances.”

County Executive Picente went on to say “I thank my partners in Government, Joe Timpano as well as Chairman Gerald Fiorini and the Board of Legislators for agreeing with my approach. If we did as some have suggested and paid the increasingly inflated retirement costs upfront, either government would be financially crippled or we would have to raise property taxes by nearly 50% over 5 years. Amortization is the only common sense option; in fact it’s the only option.”

Since 2011 total retirement charges billed to Oneida County is $57,159,959. Oneida County has paid $39,779,975 in retirement payments since 2011, including 2015’s bill, which were not amortized.

In the past five years Oneida County will have amortized $19,333,900 which has been paid down to $4,343,873. 

After the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 the state retirement bills have increased at an unsustainable rate. The New York State Comptroller offers counties the option to amortize a certain amount of the bill based on percentage of annual growth.