2013-01-30 / Local & State

County Gets Retirement Fund Update

Pledges $5,000 toward Pike 2 Bike project
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

The Fulton County commissioners dealt with a varied agenda of topics on Tuesday, hearing about the status of the county’s pension fund, the availability of funding to digitize court records and the status of an economic analysis for Pike 2 Bike.

Jeff Davidek, a representative of C.S. McKee Investments, appeared before the commissioners on January 29 to provide an overview of the county’s retirement fund for 2012 as well as this year’s themes for the market and economy. Davidek touched on several positives during his lengthy presentation such as record levels of corporate and consumer cash; lowest household debt obligation ratio in 20 years; a rise in exports; and a shrinking trade deficit.

Following the presentation, the commissioners spoke alone with business manager Tim Stanton regarding the future of the county pension fund. Even though the fund managed a slight gain in investments in 2012 there was a loss in the fourth quarter.

Stanton noted the fund did not meet benchmarks, which if equaled would have brought in more than $190,000 in revenue to the fund. He added, though, that the county doesn’t want to just meet the benchmarks but surpass them. He said surpassing the benchmarks is a possibility with an active account manager.

Stanton explained to the new board of commissioners that the county moved its retirement fund from C.S. McKee to F&M Trust at least five years ago. The change was reportedly prompted by a high fee schedule that was not equal to the level of work being put into managing the account. The county went back to C.S. McKee in 2009 because the firm had remodeled or vastly changed its fee schedule, Stanton said.

Concerns raised by the commissioners at this time included the lack of customization in the portfolio and the “cookie-cutter” approach to investing money for all county pensions under C.S. McKee. As a result, the commissioners asked their business manager to look into the portfolios and investments of the small number of counties not with C.S. McKee as well as their performance. Commissioner Rodney McCray concluded the retirement issue needs to be kept in mind as county employees, in addition to taxpayers, come first.

In other business addressed on January 29, Chief Clerk Dan Swain presented the commissioners with the idea of purchasing several electronic poll books. Swain is to begin looking into the possibility.

Prothonotary Patty Suders Fix, who was accompanied by Robert Dugan of Infocon, gave the commissioners a letter from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) stating funding is currently available to reimburse the county for the purchase of an electronic court records management system. The county is eligible to receive up to $46,000 to create the system for the management of criminal records. The funding could cover expenses related to new computers, scanners, printers and even computer terminals used by the public in the prothonotary’s office.

Fix stated the county is not required to match any of the money being given by the state. Furthermore, the only ongoing cost beginning in 2014 would be approximately $250 monthly for software expenses. She expressed her pleasure in working with Infocon in the past with other duties attended to in her office such as deeds, wills and orphans court.

County planner Mary K. Seville gave a follow-up to last month’s discussion on the Pike 2 Bike Trail located along the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike. Seville stated Bedford County’s planning director has applied for $5,000 in funding through the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and will be applying for additional money from the Lincoln Corridor. Furthermore, Bedford’s commis- sioners have pledged $5,000 from Marcellus shale funding toward the effort to have an economic analysis done on the trail owned by the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy.

The Fulton County commissioners unanimously agreed to provide $5,000 of their own Marcellus shale money, which is to be used for trail development and recreation.

Seville and Chief Tax Assessor Michelle Sowers announced interviews will get under way Friday to fill the position associated with the county’s future use of a unified parcel identifier on documents. A total of 27 individuals applied for the position.

The commissioners went on to meet behind closed doors with the two departments heads to discuss a personnel matter.

In addition to attending a luncheon meeting with Fulton County Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Jason Hawkins, the commissioners attended to other business last Tuesday, including approving a contract amendment with Dennis E. Black Engineering. The contract dates back to December 20, 2011, and will allow the firm to perform design services for the office of Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott for $6,900.

The commissioners met with engineer Lee Zeger of CES Engineering as well as Dan Swain, chief clerk / director of project development, to discuss the status of several ongoing construction projects. Zeger provided an updated estimate on the expense related to curb-cuts and repairing the sidewalk in front of the Annex 1 building and a price to perform the required engineering work.

Swain discussed the current status of the courthouse column replacement project, stating as part of the meeting minutes the column wraps were to be delivered Thursday and installation is slated for this week. The courthouse roof-replacement project was also discussed last Tuesday and it was agreed by the commissioners with the current and expected weather, the contractor would likely not be able to begin work again until January 28.

Several individuals received appointments to the county Farmland Preservation Board including Michael Binder as a contractor representative; Jim Purnell, atlarge representative; and Richard Harr, elected official.

An agreement was penned with Tele-Plus in the amount of $18.95 per month for monitoring of the office of Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott.

Furthermore, an agreement was approved with Adelphoi Village Inc. to perform work as needed for the Fulton County Services for Children office and/or the Fulton County Juvenile Probation Department. vational speaker and co-author Chris Crowley, explain in plain English the science of what goes on inside your body -- both when you’re taking care of yourself and when you’re not. They’re urging those two-thirds of Americans that are overweight or obese to stop searching for magic weight loss solutions.

“Preaching a commitment to proper nutrition and regular exercise may not win us any popularity contests,” quips Crowley, “but at the end of the day, hard work is the only healthful way to lose weight and keep it off for good.”

Not only that, eating right and getting exercise can boost your mood, make you feel younger, and give you an overall better outlook on life.

Whether you’re looking to drop those extra pounds, or maintain a healthy weight as you age, keep these guidelines in mind:

Avoidance of entire food groups or excessive consumption of others isn’t healthy, realistic or sustainable. Why? Carbohydrates, fats and proteins play necessary and unique functions within our bodies and supply different nutrients crucial for health.

Ditch wasteful calories that come from foods that are nutritionally void -- think processed and overly packaged foods, refined, flour products, all things fried or covered in creamy goop, sports drinks and other beverages with added sugar. Bottom line: eat real food.

About half of your diet should be fruits and vegetables. Enjoy healthy fats in moderation and avoid saturated and trans fat. When eating meat, make it lean.

Don’t starve! You need energy to go about your day, especially if you’re physically active. Skipping meals can actually lower your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories and lose weight.

Be prepared to commit to regular aerobic exercise and resistance training. There are no shortcuts. Exercise for forty-five to sixty minutes a day, six days a week, for the rest of your life.

Stay connected with friends and family. “We are built to care deeply about one another. Get isolated and you will literally get sick,” says Crowley. Friends can also offer the best support when it comes to achieving your goals.

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