35 UP municipal systems receive pension grants
LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Thirty-five Upper Michigan municipal systems are receiving a total of $68 million in pension grant awards from the state.
In her announcement Wednesday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says this is putting dollars back into the pockets of retirees and offsetting costs for local communities, keeping them from having to divert funds from critical public services. More than $553 million in pension grant awards are being sent to 123 Michigan communities.
“After a lifetime of hard work, Michigan seniors deserve to retire with dignity,” said Whitmer in a press release. “Today’s Protecting MI Pension Grants will ensure that Michiganders who served our communities as police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers, and in so many other invaluable professions, will receive the stable, secure retirement that they earned. I am proud that earlier this year, I signed legislation rolling back the retirement tax on our seniors, saving half a million households an average of $1,000 a year, putting money back in their pockets for gas, groceries, or gifts for their grandkids. Today, we are continuing to deliver on our promise to Michigan’s seniors and shoring up municipal budgets across the state. Let’s keep putting money back in people’s pockets and building a brighter future.”
The Protecting MI Pension Grant Program was created to help Michigan’s underfunded municipal systems. Under the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, the Michigan Department of Treasury was appropriated dollars to establish and operate a program for qualified retirement systems that were underfunded as outlined in state law.
Under the grant program, eligible cities, villages, townships, counties, and road commissions were encouraged to review their retirement system funding and apply for a grant by mid-June. A complete list of grant award communities can be found online.
The City of Norway is receiving $3,732,854 - the highest amount awarded to a U.P. community.
“We were very excited to receive the news that we would be a recipient of the Protecting MI Pension Grant Program,” said Dan Stoltman, city manager of the city of Norway, in a press release. “Helping us get to the 60% funded status makes the light at the end of the tunnel a little closer and a lot brighter for our future.”
The City of Ishpeming is receiving $1,776,032.
“We are truly committed to our current and former employees, and once the audit revealed our system was underfunded, we knew we had to take care of the City of Ishpeming retirees, who served this community and its residents, so they can have a secure retirement,” said Craig Cugini, city manager of Ishpeming, in a press release. “The first step in turning things around included bonding our pension with taxable bonds to help fund the program, bringing us to 95 percent in MERS funding, which set us apart from other municipalities facing a similar situation. And then when the Michigan Treasury grant became available, we recognized the funding opportunity as yet another way to ensure our former and current employees are taken care of.”
“Ishpeming took control of a situation that many municipalities were facing several years ago, with market fluctuations causing severe drops in pension fund levels across the country,” said State Rep. Jenn Hill (D-Marquette). “The early step to bond the pension, starting in 2021 and concluding in 2022, shows the city’s commitment to its retired public service members. The additional funding secured once available through the state in 2023 shows its strategic know-how in navigating resources for its community.”
|Local Unit||Local Government Type||County||Retirement System||Award Amount|
|Baraga County Road Commission||Road Commission||Baraga||MERS||$159,316|
|Village of Baraga||Village||Baraga||MERS||$770,791|
|Village of L’Anse||Village||Baraga||MERS||$833,070|
|Chippewa County Road Commission||Road Commission||Chippewa||MERS||$1,991,054|
|City of Sault Ste. Marie||City||Chippewa||Police and Firefighters Pension System||$2,636,455|
|Village of DeTour||Village||Chippewa||MERS||$116,718|
|City of Gladstone||City||Delta||MERS||$259,619|
|Delta County Road Commission||Road Commission||Delta||MERS||$624,052|
|City of Iron Mountain||City||Dickinson||MERS||$3,237,632|
|City of Norway||City||Dickinson||MERS||$3,732,854|
|Dickinson County Road Commission||Road Commission||Dickinson||MERS||$1,276,803|
|City of Ironwood||City||Gogebic||MERS||$1,158,344|
|City of Wakefield||City||Gogebic||MERS||$260,102|
|Gogebic County Road Commission||Road Commission||Gogebic||Gogebic County Employee Retirement System||$364,250|
|Village of Lake Linden||Village||Houghton||MERS||$156,174|
|City of Crystal Falls||City||Iron||MERS||$346,242|
|City of Gaastra||City||Iron||MERS||$23,597|
|City of Iron River||City||Iron||MERS||$629,183|
|Iron County Road Commission||Road Commission||Iron||MERS||$851,132|
|Keweenaw County Road Commission||Road Commission||Keweenaw||MERS||$428,698|
|Luce County Road Commission||Road Commission||Luce||MERS||$1,765,542|
|Village of Newberry||Village||Luce||MERS||$29,140|
|City of St. Ignace||City||Mackinac||MERS||$370,873|
|City of Ishpeming||City||Marquette||MERS||$1,776,032|
|City of Marquette||City||Marquette||MERS||$704,412|
|City of Negaunee||City||Marquette||MERS||$969,575|
|Marquette County Road Commission||Road Commission||Marquette||MERS||$3,626,838|
|Ontonagon County Road Commission||Road Commission||Ontonagon||MERS||$2,968,071|
|Village of Ontonagon||Village||Ontonagon||MERS||$1,952,964|
|City of Manistique||City||Schoolcraft||MERS||$2,384,317|
|Schoolcraft County Road Commission||Road Commission||Schoolcraft||MERS||$1,817,235|
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