Borough of Jim Thorpe, PA
Carbon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Jim Thorpe as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-12-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-4[1]; amended in its entirety 7-9-2020 by Ord. No. 2020-05]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Art. I, Municipal Employees Retirement Fund, adopted 5-9-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-04.
Jim Thorpe Borough (the "Borough"), having established a non-uniform pension plan administered by the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System (the "System"), hereby elects to amend its Non-Uniform Pension Plan administered by the System in accordance with Article IV of the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement Law, 53 P.S. § 881.101 et seq. ("Retirement Law"), and does hereby agree to be bound by all the requirements and provisions of the Retirement Law and the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act, 53 P.S. § 895.101 et seq., and to assume all obligations, financial and otherwise, placed upon member municipalities.
As part of this article, the Borough agrees that the System shall administer and provide the benefits set forth in the amended Non-Uniform Pension Plan document entered into between the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement Board and the Borough effective as of the date specified in the adoption agreement (the "contract").
The Borough acknowledges that, by passage and adoption of this article, the Borough officially accepts the contract and the financial obligations resulting from the administration of the contract.
Payment for any obligation established by the adoption of this article and the contract shall be made by the Borough in accordance with the Retirement Law and the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act. The Borough hereby assumes all liability for any unfundedness created due to the benefit structure set forth in the contract.
The Borough intends this article to be the complete authorization of the contract, as amended, and it shall become effective as of the date specified in the adoption agreement, which is the effective date of the contract, as amended.
A duly certified copy of this article and an executed contract shall be filed with the System.
[Adopted 5-9-1996 by Ord. No. 96-3]
A pension plan is hereby established for the full-time Police employees pursuant to and in compliance with the Act of May 29th, 1956. P.L. 1804, as amended.[1] Such plan shall be under the direction of the Council of Jim Thorpe Borough and shall be applied under such regulations as the Council may prescribe. The effective date of this article shall be January 1, 1996.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 767 et seq.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMITTEE
The persons which may be appointed to serve in an advisory capacity to the Council in the administration of the plan.
CONTRIBUTIONS
The monies paid by the employer to the plan and/or the payroll deductions made monthly from the salaries of the participants and paid to the plan; except that "contributions" in § 94-9G shall mean total contributions paid by the participant and accumulated during the period of employment and participation in this plan.
COUNCIL
The governing body of the Borough of Jim Thorpe acting in the capacity of administrator of the Police Employees Pension Plan established pursuant to this article.
EARLY RETIREMENT DATE
The first day following the date on which the member completes 20 years of service.
[Added 10-8-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-4]
EMPLOYER
The Borough of Jim Thorpe.
FUTURE SERVICE LIABILITY
The value of any participant's benefits which shall accrue by virtue of that participant's service rendered subsequent to the enactment of Ordinance No. 86-2.[1]
PARTICIPANT
Every person duly appointed from time to time by the employer as a full-time police employee working not less than 35 hours per week at a definite salary, subject to reasonable vacation and sick leave, to be included in the plan upon date of hire.
PLAN
The Police Employees Pension Plan established pursuant to this article.
SALARY
The amount of compensation received by a participant in each and every month, including base pay, overtime pay, longevity pay, night differential, and any other such increments. The term "salary" shall included regular payments made for vacation time, sick time, compensation time, personal days and bereavement leave but shall not include lump sum payments for any unused days for any of the foregoing listed benefits.
SERVICE
Total aggregate service, not necessarily continuous, with the employer.
TERMINATION
The cessation of service by the participant for any reason including disability, resignation, and employee termination. Death shall not be considered a termination within the meaning of this article. Voluntary leaves of absence without pay shall not be considered a termination for the purposes of this article; but no period of such leave shall be computed in the total service for pension benefit purposes. Leaves of absence with pay shall not be considered a termination within the meaning of this article (provided that the municipality is able to certify to the Department of the Auditor General that such participant on a leave of absence with pay is within the definition of a participant as set forth herein); but such leaves may be computed in the total service for pension benefits purposes.
UNFUNDED LIABILITY
The present value of any participant's benefits accrued prior to the enactment of Ordinance No. 86-2 by virtue of that participant's prior service.
[1]
Editor's Note: Ordinance No. 86-2, adopted 10-20-1986, refers to the prior Police Pension Plan.
A. 
The Council shall administer the plan by such regulations as shall from time to time be necessary for the effective maintenance of the plan, provided that no regulation shall be contrary to the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and/or applicable federal regulations.
B. 
The Council may appoint a committee which shall act as an advisory body to the Council in the administration of the plan according to the regulations established pursuant to this section.
C. 
Committee membership; vacancies.
(1) 
The Committee shall consist of five members, which number shall included the President of the Borough Council, the Borough Treasurer and the Borough Secretary, and one chosen by a majority of the participants in the plan. The final member of the Committee shall be neither a member of the Council nor a participant in the plan, but shall be a citizen-at-large, and shall be appointed by the Council.
(2) 
All persons so designated shall serve at the pleasure of the Council. Any member may resign upon written notice to the Council and the Committee. Any vacancies in the Committee arising from resignation, death, or removal shall be filled by the Council by the procedure set out herein for the member of the Committee whose resignation, death or removal has created the vacancy.
D. 
The Committee shall act by such procedure as the Committee shall establish, provided that all decisions shall be by majority vote. The Committee may authorize one of its members to execute any document or documents on behalf of the Committee, may adopt bylaws and regulations as it deems necessary for the conduct of its affairs, and may appoint such accountants, counsel, specialists or such other personnel as it may deem desirable for the proper administration of the plan, provided that all such executions of documents, adoptions of bylaws and regulations, and appointments shall be approved by Council.
E. 
The Committee shall keep a record of all its proceedings and acts which shall relate to the plan, and shall keep all such books of accounts, records and other data as shall be necessary for the proper administration of the plan. All actions of the Committee shall be communicated to the Council.
F. 
All such reasonable expenses incurred in the administration of the plan, including but not limited to actuaries, accountants, consultants, and legal counsel shall be approved by the Council and all may be paid from the plan, provided that no such payment shall be contrary to the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
[Amended 7-9-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-3]
G. 
No member of the Council or the Committee established pursuant to this section shall incur any liability for any action or failure to act, excepting only liability for its own gross negligence or willful misconduct. The employer shall indemnify each member of Council and the Committee against any and all claims, loss, damages, expense, and liability arising from any action or failure to act, except for such that is the result of gross negligence or willful misconduct of such member.
A. 
Eligibility for normal retirement.
(1) 
A participant in the plan may retire from active employment on the first day of the month following the attainment of age 50; provided that the participant has completed 25 or more years of service with the employer.
(2) 
If there is any participant in the plan who was a member of the police force of the employer prior to December 21, 1956, that participant may retire following the attainment of age 60; provided that the participant has completed 20 years or more of service with the employer.
(3) 
A participant shall retire on the first day of the month following attainment of age 70.
B. 
Normal retirement benefits.
(1) 
A participant who shall complete the age and service requirements as set forth in this section shall receive a pension for life in the amount equal to 1/2 of the participant's last 36 months of employment, or that percentage and based on that number of months as shall be prescribed by statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania subsequent to the adoption of this article.
(2) 
Subject further to those limitations imposed by the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, no deduction from the benefits here provided for shall be made for any social security old-age insurance benefits to which the participant is also entitled. The benefits herein provided shall be payable solely from the assets of the plan.
C. 
Length of service increment benefit. In addition to the normal retirement benefit provided for in Subsection B of this section and the disability benefit provided for in Subsection D of this section, and subject to those limitations imposed by the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, those participants with at least 26 years of continuous service as a member of the Jim Thorpe Borough Police Department shall receive an additional $100 per month in benefits as a length of service increment.
D. 
Disability benefits.
[Amended 3-10-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-2]
(1) 
In the event of the participant's disability for permanent service-related injuries, such participant may become eligible for a monthly disability pension. Such disability pension shall commence when the participant has been declared totally and permanently disabled.
(2) 
Total and permanent disability shall mean any condition arising from service-connected illness or injury which precludes an employee participant from performing the duties associated with the normal occupational requirements of a police officer as certified by a physician designated by the Borough.
(3) 
Monthly total and permanent disability pension payments for service-connected disabilities shall be in an amount equal to 75% of the participant's salary at the time the disability was incurred, offset by social security. This benefit shall continue until the participant's death.
E. 
Vested benefit.
(1) 
A vested deferred monthly benefit shall be provided for any participant whose termination date occurs prior to the participant's normal retirement date; provided that the participant shall have completed 12 years of service with the employer and shall have notified the employer in writing of such intention to vest within 90 days of the participant's date of termination. The amount of the vested deferred monthly benefit shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of Act 600, 53 P.S. § 771.
(2) 
Such vested deferred monthly benefit shall be paid to a participant upon attainment of that participant's normal retirement age as set forth in this section.
F. 
Termination.
(1) 
If for any reason a participant shall terminate service with the employer prior to becoming vested, that participant shall be entitled to a refund of that participant's contributions plus interest at a rate of 6% per annum. Such interest shall be uniformed for all participants.
(2) 
If a participant shall subsequently return to service and return to the plan the contributions plus interest which were refunded to the participant upon termination, the participant shall be entitled to credit for the prior years of service to the extent of the return of contributions.
(3) 
Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow credit for service not actually given to the employer, except as specifically provided in § 94-11.
G. 
Cost of living increment.
[Amended 12-12-1996 by Ord. No. 97-2]
(1) 
An annual cost of living increment shall be provided to a retired participant, subject to the limitations as noted hereinafter:
(a) 
Such increment shall not exceed the percentage increase in the "Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers Consumer Price Index, Northeast Region" as promulgated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, from the month in which the participant last worked.
(b) 
In no case may that participant's total pension benefits exceed 75% of the retired participant's salary for computing retirement benefits.
(c) 
The retired participant's total cost of living increment shall not exceed 30%.
(2) 
Subject to the limitations in Subsection G(4) of this section, if the assets of the Police Pension Fund exceed the present of future benefits as reported in the last actuarial valuation report filed with the Public Employee Retirement Commission under the Act of December 18, 1984 (P.L. 1005, No. 205[1]), known as the "Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act," a cost-of-living increase for members of the police force receiving retirement benefits for 20 or more years may be provided in excess of the limits stated in Subsection G(1) of this section.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 895.101 et seq.
(3) 
Provided the total benefits to be paid to a retired member from the Police Pension Plan after computation of the cost-of-living increase does not exceed $10,000 a year, a cost-of-living increase not to exceed 150% of the salary for computing retirement benefits shall be provided to a retired participant who has received retirement benefits for a minimum of 20 years.
(4) 
If the total benefits to be paid to a retired member from the Police Pension Plan exceed $10,000 a year, then the Police Pension Plan shall not pay benefits to a retired member in excess of 100% of the retired member's average compensation as defined in Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 415) or in any successor statute.
H. 
Pension benefit to surviving spouse and dependent children.
[Amended 3-10-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-2]
(1) 
If a participant dies survived by a spouse or dependent children, after having become eligible to receive a pension benefit, (i.e., he was eligible because he was already receiving a pension; or he met the age and service requirements, but he had not yet retired), then a monthly pension benefit shall be provided.
(2) 
The amount of the monthly pension benefit shall be 50% of the pension the participant was receiving or would have been entitled to receive if he had been retired at the time of his death.
(3) 
In the event a participant dies after completing 12 or more years of service but was not yet eligible for normal retirement or pre-retirement survivor benefits, the surviving spouse shall act on behalf of the participant in selecting the alternative addressed in Subsection E. If a vested benefit is selected, the surviving spouse shall receive 50% of the participant's vested monthly benefit commencing on the first day of the month following the participant's normal retirement date.
(4) 
The monthly pension benefit is payable to the surviving spouse until death, then to surviving dependent children under the age of 18 years or if attending college, under or attaining the age of 23 years. "Attending college" shall mean the eligible children are registered at an accredited institution of higher learning and are carrying a minimum course load of seven credit hours per semester. Dependent children shall include stepchildren, adopted children, and any child conceived before the time of the participant's death and thereafter born to the participant's spouse.
I. 
Nonalienation of benefits and vesting.
(1) 
No benefit under the plan shall be subject in any manner to anticipation, alienation, sale, transfer, assignment, pledge, encumbrance, or charge. Nor shall any such benefits be in any manner liable for or subject to garnishment, attachment, execution, levy or other legal process.
(2) 
Further, all benefits granted herein shall vest in the participant upon completion of the requirements for eligibility, and that participant's benefits shall continue in the amount and in the form in which that participant first became entitled to them.
J. 
Pre-retirement survivor benefit. In the event a member is killed in service, the member's family shall receive the benefits provided for and subject to the terms of Act 51 of 2009, which benefits are paid exclusively by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with the exception of any pension benefit to which the member was entitled prior to the member's death, solely by virtue of the member's service as a Borough police officer (i.e., either a normal, early, or vested pension benefit). It is understood that family shall refer to the surviving spouse and dependent children. The benefit is payable to the surviving spouse until death, then to the surviving dependent children under the age of 18 years or, if attending college, under or attaining the age of 23 years. The term dependent children and attending college shall be consistent with that of § 94-9H.
[Added 3-10-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-2; amended 5-12-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-2; 7-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-3]
(1) 
Pre-vesting death benefit. The surviving spouse of a member of the police force who dies before his pension has vested or if no spouse survives or if he or she survives and subsequently dies, the child or children under the age of 18 years, or, if attending college, under or attaining the age of 23 years, of the member of the police force shall be entitled to receive repayment of all money which the member invested in the pension fund plus interest at a rate of 6% per annum, unless the member has designated another beneficiary for this purpose.
K. 
Early retirement benefit. Each member may retire on or at any time after his early retirement date. Upon termination, the member must file with the Secretary of the Borough a written notice of his intention to elect an early retirement benefit. This benefit shall become effective as of the date of the notice or the date designated in the notice, whichever is later. The amount of the early retirement benefit shall be the actuarial equivalent of a vested retirement benefit as stated in Subsection E. The actuarial equivalent of the vested retirement benefit shall be determined by actuarially reducing the vested retirement benefit to reflect that it will commence on the effective date of the early retirement rather than on the member's normal retirement date. The actuarial reduction shall be calculated using the actuarial assumptions reported in the last actuarial valuation report filed with the Public Employee Retirement Commission.
[Added 10-8-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-4]
A. 
Contributions of the employer.
(1) 
It shall be the liability of the employer to fund the past service liability as determined by the actuary, provided that such liability may be funded over a period not to exceed 18 years, such period commencing with the passage of Ordinance 86-2.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Ordinance No. 86-2, adopted 10-20-1986, refers to the prior Police Pension Plan.
(2) 
It shall be the liability of the employer to fund for the future service cost of the plan.
(3) 
It shall be the responsibility of the employer to maintain the actuarial soundness of the plan.
(4) 
Contributions to the plan paid by the employer shall be at an amount determined by an annual actuarial study, which shall be completed on a calendar-year basis.
B. 
Contributions of participants.
[Amended 3-10-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-2]
(1) 
Participant shall pay into the fund at a rate of 5% of salary. "Salary" for this purpose shall be as defined in § 94-7.
(2) 
The Council may, on an annual basis, by ordinance or resolution, reduce or eliminate payments into the fund by participants. Individual records of contributions by participants shall be maintained, including all interest credited to his individual account. Interest shall be credited from the end of the plan year in which paid, to the end of the month after which a refund becomes payable.
C. 
Allocation of commonwealth funds. The payments made by the State Treasurer to the employer from the monies received from the taxes paid on the premiums of foreign casualty insurance companies for purposes of retirement or disability benefit pensions for municipal employees shall be used as follows:
(1) 
To reduce the unfunded liability, or after such liability is funded.
(2) 
To apply against the annual obligation of the employer for future service cost, or to the extent that the payments may be in excess of such obligations.
(3) 
To reduce or eliminate the contributions paid by the participant.
D. 
Allocation of assets of existing pension plans. Any assets of any existing pension plans for the police employees of the Borough are hereby transferred to the plan established pursuant to this article, and shall be applied against the unfunded liability.
E. 
Gifts, bequests, and grants. All other monies and property received by the plan, including gifts, bequests, devices, and grants shall be applied equally against the participant and the employer portions of the future service cost unless otherwise specifically provided.
A. 
Credit for military service. Any participant in the plan with at least six months of service with the employer who thereafter shall enter the military service of the United Stated of America shall have credited to the participant's service record for pension benefit purposes all of the time spent by the participant in such service; provided that the participant returns to service with the employer with six months after said participant's separation from such military service.
B. 
Purchase of nonintervening military service.
(1) 
A service credit shall be provided for each year of military service or fraction thereof, not to exceed five years, to any member of the police force who was not employed by the political subdivision prior to such military service. The amount due for the purchase of credit for military service, other than intervening military service, shall be computed by applying the average normal cost rate for Borough and Township police pension plans, as certified by the Public Employee Retirement Study Commission, but not to exceed 10%, to the member's average annual rate of compensation over the first three years of municipal service and multiplying the result by the number of years and fractional part of a year of creditable nonintervening military service being purchased together with interest at the rate of 4 3/4% compounded annually from the date of initial entry of municipal service to the date of payment.
(2) 
Any member of the police force shall be eligible to receive service credit for intervening or nonintervening military service as provided herein, provided that he/she is not entitled to receive, eligible to receive now or in the future or is receiving retirement benefits for such service under a retirement system administered and wholly or partially paid for by any other governmental agency with the exception of a member eligible to receive or receiving military retirement pay earned by a combination of active duty and nonactive duty with a reserve or national guard component of the armed forces, which retirement pay is payable only upon the attainment of specified age and period of service under 10 U.S.C. Ch. 67 (relating to retired pay for nonregular services).
Upon termination of the plan, the assets shall be distributed as follows:
A. 
Sufficient funds shall be maintained to provide the pension benefits prescribed in § 94-9 for all participants who have retired prior to the termination of the plan, or who are eligible to retire at the time of the termination of the plan.
B. 
Sufficient funds shall be maintained to provided vested pension benefits prescribed in § 94-9 for all participants who are eligible for such benefits.
C. 
Of the remaining funds, those which can be identified as contributions of the employer, or contributions other than participant or from the commonwealth allocations, shall be distributed as the Council sees fit; provided that such distribution is made on a uniform basis.
D. 
All funds in excess of the funds described in Subsections A, B, and C above shall be returned to the commonwealth as unused funds pursuant to the Act or May 12, 1943 P.L. 259, as amended, 72 P.S. § 2263.1 et seq.
A. 
Neither the establishment of the plan hereby created, nor any modification thereof, nor the creation of any fund or account, nor the payment of any benefits, shall be construed as giving to any participant or other person any legal or equitable right against the employer, or any officer or employee thereof, or the Council, except as herein provided.
B. 
Under no circumstance shall the plan hereby created constitute a contract for continuing employment for any participant or in any manner obligate the employer to continue or to discontinue the services of an employee.
C. 
This plan has been established and shall be maintained by the employer in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The plan shall continue for such period as may be required by such laws; provided that the employer may, by its own action, discontinue this plan should such laws provide, and the employer reserves the right to take such action in its sole and absolute discretion. Upon termination, the employer shall have no liability hereunder other than that imposed by law.
All investments by the Council of the assets of this plan shall comply with any applicable state statutes, rules and regulations with respect to municipal investments for police pension funds and with such regulations as the Council shall establish for the purpose of investing such funds.
The Council reserves the right to amend at any time in whole or in part, any or all of the provisions of the plan; provided that no such amendment shall authorize or permit any part of the plan to be used or diverted to purposes other than for the exclusive benefit of the participants, their beneficiaries, or their estates. Nor shall any amendment divest a participant of benefits vested by the provisions of § 94-9. All such amendments shall comply with the applicable statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A. 
This plan shall be constructed according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and all provisions hereof shall be administered according to the laws of such commonwealth.
B. 
Wherever any words are used herein in the masculine gender, they shall be construed as though they were also used in the feminine gender in all cases where they would so apply; and wherever any words used herein are in the singular form, they shall be construed as though they were also used in the plural form in all cases where they would so apply.
C. 
Headings of sections and subsections of this instrument are inserted for convenience of reference. They constitute no part of this plan and are not to be considered in the construction thereof.
This article repeals all other ordinances and/or resolutions prior to the date of its enactment which documents established, maintained, governed, or regulated a pension plan for the police employees of the Borough of Jim Thorpe, it being further provided that the provisions of this article are intended to be continuation of those existing in Ordinance No. 86-2, as amended,[1] to the extent they are consistent herewith.
[1]
Editor's Note: Ord. No. 86-2, adopted 10-20-1986, refers to the prior Police Pension Plan.