Grass Valley council reduces pension interest |

Grass Valley council reduces pension interest

Outside of a move to reduce Grass Valley’s payment to the state’s public employee pension system, the meeting of the town’s city council was largely ceremonial Tuesday.

“We have an evening of proclamations tonight,” said Vice Mayor Jason Fouyer, who acted as the meeting’s executive in the absence of Mayor Dan Miller.

“That is half of our agenda tonight,” Fouyer joked.

First, Fouyer presented a plaque to the American Legion Auxiliary proclaiming May 17 Veteran’s Poppy Day, a commemoration on behalf of the disabled veterans, widows and orphans of United State soldiers, according to the American Library.

“What the Auxiliary does goes well beyond this,” Fouyer said. “What they do is honor our soldiers who protect our freedom.”

The practice of wearing poppies on Memorial Day takes its origin from the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by John McCrae, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Fouyer also marked May 19 as Hepatitis Testing Day and the month of May Hepatitis Awareness Month, as well as Motorcycle Awareness Month.

“Who is here for hepatitis awareness month?” Fouyer asked.

No one was present to receive that plaque, nor the one for the motorcycle awareness month.

Fouyer then went on to proclaim Grass Valley’s Center for the Arts a Leading Northern California Venue for Cultural and Educational Entertainment.

“And for the final one, I think we actually have people here,” said Fouyer of the half dozen folks from Center of the Arts who attended Tuesday’s meeting to receive the recognition.

“I just want to thank the city of Grass Valley for the support of Center for the Arts over the years,” said Julie Baker, executive director of the organization that has brought Chick Corea, Dana Carvey, Willie Nelson and scores of big-name entertainers to Nevada County.

Following the proclamations, the council took a measure to essentially hand over City Hall to a city-controlled agency in order to lease the facility to itself and provide a revenue stream to finance a bond that is expected to save the municipality more than $160,000 on more than $2.36 million owed to California’s public employee pension system.

“The purpose of the refinancing is to save the city money,” said City Manager Dan Holler.

That total figure is referred to as a “side fund” and is an amount owed CalPERS to offset the cost of past changes in retirement benefits for city employees.

The savings is expected to be realized by switching from PERS’ 7.5 percent interest rate to a 7.5 percent interest rate on an Umpqua Bank loan, as provided through a lease revenue bond.

“It is like refinancing your home,” Holler said.

The move won’t retire the city’s overall obligation to this second group of annuitants any faster, Holler said.

“We’re not taking on any more debt, we’re just refinancing,” said Councilman Howard Levine.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email or call 530-477-4236.

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