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Colorado PERA Settles With Tri-County Health Department and Counties

January 17, 2024

DENVER— Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) has settled its lawsuits against Tri-County Health Department (TCHD), Douglas, Adams and Arapahoe counties for pension liabilities owed by TCHD.

“Tri-County Health Department had been an affiliated PERA employer for 57 years, and there remains an ongoing cost to provide retirement benefits to the current Tri-County retirees, and to secure the future retirement benefits of Tri-County’s former employees,” said PERA Interim Executive Director Amy C. McGarrity, “This agreement protects TCHD’s PERA members and the integrity of the fund.”

Under Colorado law, a district public health agency must be comprised of at least two contiguous counties. As a result of the votes by the counties to withdraw from TCHD, TCHD ceased to exist as a district public health agency at the end of 2022 and thus was required to withdraw from PERA. Under Colorado law, a Local Government Division employer that withdraws from PERA is obligated to fund its actuarial share of any unfunded liability.

PERA and the court-appointed Receiver for TCHD, Cordes & Company, agreed that TCHD’s withdrawal liability is $29,809,480. The Receiver made an interim payment of $24 million to PERA on Dec. 4, 2023 toward the withdrawal liability. Under the settlement agreement, Douglas, Adams and Arapahoe counties will contribute $100,000 toward the remaining liability and the remaining assets of TCHD will be liquidated by the Receiver with all remaining funds to be paid to PERA.

The agreement was executed by the Receiver, PERA, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. It was approved by Arapahoe County District Court.

“We’re pleased that all parties were able to negotiate in good faith and reach a settlement that meets the pension obligations incurred by TCHD,” said PERA Chair Marcus Pennell. “This is good for the counties, and more importantly, this protects the earned benefits of our members and beneficiaries while ensuring TCHD’s liability isn’t shifted to other PERA employers.”

The approved agreement and interim distribution to PERA resolves the withdrawal liability and dismisses all lawsuits related to the dissolution of TCHD between PERA, TCHD, and Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.