Capac receives State pension funding


CAPAC — The Village of Capac has been notified they are among those who have been awarded funding to help with their required State of Michigan pension funding.

State officials recently announced more than $553 million in Protecting MI Pension Grant awards are being sent to 123 Michigan communities, putting dollars back into the pockets of retirees and offsetting costs for local communities, keeping them from having to divert funds from critical public services.

Capac was awarded $764,515, and is one of two St. Clair County communities to be awarded the funding, with the other being the City of St. Clair, who was granted approximately $1.6 million.

Travis Youatt

“This is a huge weight off of the shoulders of the village,” said Village manager Travis Youatt. “This is incredible news for us and really, it now frees up money for us to do other projects within the village. It truly is a blessing for the village. So many communities like us were struggling and facing the fact that the taxpayers were going to have to carry the burden. This is a great program and one the village is very thankful for.”

Youatt said the village was banking $20,000 per year to try and get the unfunded mandate up to 60% and acknowledged it was an uphill battle.

“We were at 31% funded and it would have taken a very long time to get to 60%,” Youatt stated.

The Protecting MI Pension Grant Program was created to help Michigan’s underfunded municipal systems. Under the Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, the Michigan Department of Treasury was appropriated dollars to establish and operate a program for qualified retirement systems that were underfunded as outlined in state law.

Under the grant program, eligible cities, villages, townships, counties and road commissions were encouraged to review their retirement system funding and apply for a grant by mid-June.

“A major budgetary concern for our local governments is their pensions systems,” said State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks. “Funding these systems enables our communities to uphold their commitment to 25,000-plus public servants and focus on providing the services Michiganders come to expect.”

Communities named as grant recipients each echoed the same sentiment, that they are very pleased that the State of Michigan and Michigan Department of Treasury understand the importance of the pension system for public employees and established the Protecting MI Pension Grant Program that will strengthen their respective municipal pension systems.

Especially when inflation is taking a bite out of local government’s ability to fund critical community services.

The Grant Program provides relief for taxpayers and protects the pensions of retired workers. The Protecting MI Pension Grant Program will not only strengthen the communities’ retirement system, but also provide room within annual budgets to continue to meet the service expectations of their citizens. Many of the awarded communities are financially distressed villages, cities and counties that, without the grant funding, would have had to place an additional tax burden on their citizens that struggle to afford or have spent years trying to catch up.