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TID to spend $3.4 million

POSTED August 25, 2009 10:04 p.m.
The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors approved $3.4 million in pension-related expenditures Tuesday morning, intended to offset the effects of the weak stock market in 2008.
TID initially budgeted $7.2 million for pension expense contributions in 2009. Due to poor performance of pension fund investments during 2008, the District was forced to contribute an additional $3.4 million on Tuesday to cover pension expenses.
According to TID Public Information Division Manager Michelle Reimers, the District was obligated to fund the $3.4 million at some point, either now or at a later date. TID Chief Financial Officer Joseph Malaski recommended the District fund the $3.4 million now.
As of late July, TID was operating at a $7.9 million deficit, which was better than the expected deficit of $8.8 million. The $7.9 million figure does not include an approximate $800,000 reduction in revenues brought about by a July 28 increase in irrigation water allotment and cap.
The TID Board of Directors approved a 15 percent electricity rate hike last year to offset what was then estimated as a $57 million budget deficit.

Benefit changes in store for Weis
TID General Manager Larry Weis will be the first employee of the District to receive a new Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan.
The SERP is a “tool intended to recruit and retain upper management employees that may have spent many years at other utilities and their years of service are not recognized by our existing retirement plan,” according to Reimers.
No specific dollar amount has yet been set for Weis’s SERP, Reimers said. The exact value of the plan will be established in closed session within the next few months, she stated.
In exchange for the additional retirement plan, Weis will forego any future automatic cost of living salary increases. He is also ineligible for merit-pay salary increases, which raised concern in March when nearly $500,000 in raises were doled out to 130 managerial, supervisory, professional and confidential employees.
Any future raises for Weis would be set by resolution of the Board of Directors.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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