Thursday, February 21 2013, 10:25 PM CST
State says county should have known about PERS increases
By Whitney Clark/KTVL.com
MEDFORD, Ore. -- At a press conference on Wednesday, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters blamed a sudden decrease in funding for this year on the government.
"It's a ripple effect from the federal government -- on down," Winters said.
The sheriff's office may now have to lay off 66 employees. Winters says it's because of a lack in state and federal funding, and an increase in PERS payments.
Even though the fiscal year is over in July, Winters says they are just finding out about those increases, also a shock to county commissioners.
Skundrick says the county set aside about $1 million for PERS payments
for this year. He says because of the increases it is now more like $4
"PERS was a shock to us," said commissioner Don Skundrick. "We didn't expect to be upside $4 million additional PERS payments that, unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be an annual thing. But that hit us now."
However, the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System says the county should have known about the PERS increases for this fiscal year back in 2012.
David Crosley, the communications officer for PERS, says while he did not have specific information about Jackson County, the state sends notices months before budgets are approved so counties can plan ahead.
Records from the state show Jackson County should have received PERS reports in the mail by December of 2010. Crosley says the state sets the amount of money employers are to contribute every two years.
"We let employees know in October of 2012, what the rates would be beginning July of this year," Crosley said.
Skundrick says while the commissioners are just finding out about the PERS payments, it's possible someone else knew. The notices would have gone through county administrator Danny Jordan, who was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.
Officials in Josephine and Klamath counties says they have received their PERS reports months in advance for the last few years. Jason Link, the chief financial officer for Klamath County, says they noticed a PERS decrease for this coming fiscal year.