Hingham: Officials Discuss OPEB Liability

With changes in state regulation for Other Post-Employment Benefits for town employees, officials in Hingham are looking into how those changes would impact the town budget for the next fiscal year.

“We believe that we have a responsibility to make sure that when our [employees] retire, that we have the ability to provide them with the services and healthcare that they have earned through service to the town,” said Mary Power, Chair of the Selectmen. “What we’re doing is looking at ways to make sure that we can follow through on that commitment.”

Current estimates have the town’s unfunded liability around $70 million to $72 million.

But unlike some other towns in the area, Hingham has been putting money towards its OPEB fund since 2008. Power says there’s about $12 million in reserve.

With an unsteady landscape, she says the town is looking into if any change needs to be made with its payment schedule.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty with respect to what’s going on with health care nationally, what’s happening with rates,” said Power. “What we would like to do is if there’s a change to be made in the funding schedule, we’d like to make that change once – not change every couple of years in a dramatic way.”

Power says the Board will discuss options in more detail as part of the budget process in January.

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About Lenny Rowe

Lenny Rowe is one of the newest additions to the WATD News team. He grew up in Pembroke and was an intern at WATD in 2012. A 2016 graduate from Suffolk University, Lenny left the City of Boston and now lives in Rockland. Lenny has covered both news and sports, from the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Outside of WATD, Lenny covers high school sports for The Boston Globe. Lenny can be reached at Lenny.Rowe30@Gmail.com