Borough defers pension in hope of state aid

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:24

    SUSSEX - Sussex Borough officials are hopeful that plans to defer $13,000 in pension payments for municipal workers will lead to a greater opportunity for the town to receive extraordinary aid from the state. The Sussex Borough Council approved plans to defer $13,000 in pension contributions for its 12 municipal employees this year by a 5 to 1 vote at its April 21 meeting. Sussex Borough Councilpersons Bruce LaBar, Katherine Little, James Fransen, Frank Dykstra and Ed Meyer approved the move while Councilman Jonathan Rose opposed the measure. Earlier this month, the New Jersey State Legislature passed a bill that permits municipal governments to defer half of their contributions to the state’s public employee pension system this year, thus helping to reduce the fiscal burden on individual towns during the recession. Sussex Borough elected to defer half of the $26,000 it normally would have contributed to the fund this year. Under the program, the borough doesn’t have to start paying back the $13,000 contribution for three years. The borough has 15 years to make the payments but must do so at a minimum 8 percent interest rate, says Sussex Borough Clerk Catherine Gleason. During council discussion on the issue, councilwoman Little questioned whether the deferral was worth the effort. Gleason told her that if Sussex Borough didn’t opt for the pension deferral, it would have lessened the borough’s chances to obtain extraordinary aid from the state — even though state officials haven’t said this directly. The borough’s pension contribution is for current employees and not retired municipal workers, said Gleason.