Grayson Co. taxpayers paying more into county employee retirement funds

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TEXAS -- Tom Cristman rattled off the numbers at today's county budget hearings.

He submitted documents that show that Grayson County's retirement fund is falling behind.

He says that taxpayers are the ones who will have to make ends meet.

"We're never going to get out of debt," Cristman said.

According to documents from the Texas County and District Retirement System, or TCDRS, the Grayson County retirement fund is falling short; $14 million dollars behind what TCDRS says they need to pay county workers when they retire.

TCDRS is an organization that invests and oversees employees pension plans for many counties in Texas.

But, TCDRS investments haven't been making the money they're expected to and by state law, even if the market takes a dive, the "county's employer will assus me the investment risk."

Cristman says that the verbage "county employer" translates to taxpayer.

"We guarantee that that's going to earn 7% interest. You can't get anything out there in the market todays that gets 7% interest. Employees can only enjoy benefits that we can afford. It's a tremendous burden on the taxpayers," Christman said.

County Judge Drue Bynum says the county hasn't raised taxes in more than a decade and they're not going to.

"When I hear information that says you're making my taxes go up because you're funding a pension system, it's just not true," Bynum said.

While TCDRS operates under the assumption that all vested employees will eventually retire, on average only 25 percent actually do.

Bynum says for now they're not going to consider changing how the retirement fund works, but adds...

"We're certainly not going to spend this county into a hole," Bynum said.

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