Marlborough councilor proposes pay down of future obligations

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By Joseph Elie, Community Reporter

Marlborough – As the Marlborough City Council on Nov. 7 took up the issue of what to do with portions of its $15.1 million rainy day fund, outgoing Ward 2 Councilor Paul Ferro championed paying down some of the city's obligations to its future retired employees.

The liabilities in question are known in municipal parlance as “Other Post Employment Benefits” (OPEB), and include healthcare and life insurance premiums and deferred compensation packages, but not pension benefits.

Ferro described the proposed capital expenditures on the council meeting agenda as “irrational exuberance to spend.”

“OPEB is a $56 to $111 million liability that we'se going to have to pay in some form over the next three decades and so far we'se funded $1 million of it,” said Ferro. “I would humbly suggest that we make the bold move of using $5 to $10 million now to offset future spending before we spend down all that free cash.”

No vote was taken on Ferro's proposal and each of the other agenda items dealing with free cash were referred to the Finance Committee for further consideration.