County will use bonds to pay pension obligations

May 22, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors started the process to issue $31.2 million in bonds to pay county employee pension obligations.

The county pays into an employee pension plan but employer contributions and investments don't always keep pace with growing benefits, a letter from Assistant County Executive Officer Robertta Burns states.

In February the board decided to pay the $31.2 million difference over 30 years at an 8 percent rate. If the board pays the difference by selling bonds at lower than 8 percent, the county saves money, she said.

Similar pension bonds were issued by other California counties in the last several years, such as $117 million by Fresno, $107 million by Contra Costa and $63 million by Merced.


The bond issue still needs court approval before it returns to the county board in July for a final decision on the bonds, Burns said.

In other action, Supervisor Tony Tirado wants to organize a group that will campaign against the North Baja Pipeline, which will carry natural gas through Imperial County to power plants in Mexicali.

The power plants have drawn criticism from county officials because pollution from the plants will have a negative effect on air quality in the Imperial and Mexicali valleys.

Tirado invited the public to a meeting at 6:30 tonight in the Elks Lodge at 310 Rockwood Ave. in Calexico.

The board also:

· appointed Michael Tirado to the Developmental Disabilities Board as an emergency item. Supervisor Tony Tirado excused himself from the discussion and vote because Michael Tirado is a relative;

· approved $126,918 for pesticide regulation enforcement and $20,492 for pesticide application reporting;

· spent $31,651 for detection services for the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a pest that caused millions of dollars in damage to the wine grape crop but has only a limited infestation in northern parts of the county;

· approved $10,000 for representation on a lawsuit the county has concerning the North Baja Pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that will fuel power plants in Mexicali;

· agreed to a land exchange between the county and the Heber Public Utility District;

· awarded a contract to clean county vehicles to El Centro Car Wash.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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