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Friday, February 22, 2013

Town Pores Over Pensions and Healthcare Costs

By James Lomuscio

Westport’s actuarial firm Milliman gave town officials tonight a detailed overview of what to expect and how to prepare for pension and healthcare changes in the wake of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, and an upcoming Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) rule that will rattle the town’s balance sheet. Image
Westport Finance Director Gary Conrad introduces Rebecca Sielman of the Milliman firm at the start of tonight’s presentation. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

For two-and-half hours, Milliman’s Rebecca Sielman and William Thompson took about a dozen members of the Board of Finance, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM), the Board of Education, and a few members of the public though a maze of key provisions of the law and standards change.

These included recent activities in pension and OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) bargaining, GASB 68, Norwalk-based GASB’s accounting change effective in 2015, balance sheet changes and accrued liabilities. Healthcare and wellness initiatives to keep employee costs down were also covered.

“You’ve opened a lot of areas for further discussion, and I’m sure there will be more specific questions,” said First Selectman Gordon Joseloff at the end of the presentation in the Town Hall auditorium. It was televised live and streamed on the town website.

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