Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released Thursday nearly $300 million in aid to help support retirement plans for police, firefighters and municipal workers.

Northumberland County will receive $1,152,226.23; Columbia $785,114.84; and Montour $276,033.81.

“This funding is about looking out for the people who look out for us every day,” DePasquale was quoted in a press release. “If the money was not available, the retirement of a lot of police officers and firefighters would be in jeopardy.”

The $299.1 million in state pension aid went to 1,495 municipalities and regional departments to support pension plans covering police officers, paid firefighters and non-uniformed employees.

In 1984, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 205, the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act. Under the act, the auditor general is responsible for the administration of the General Municipal Pension System State Aid Program. The Department of the Auditor General distributes funds to municipalities to help defray the cost of various police, fire and non-uniformed pension plans maintained by municipalities, regional police forces and councils of government.

“Without this aid, communities would have to rely more heavily on local taxes to fund their employee retirement plans, some of which are already struggling to meet obligations,” DePasquale said. “That’s why the Pennsylvania General Assembly must enact a statewide municipal pension reform plan.”

In November, DePasquale announced the release of $55.1 million in volunteer firefighters’ relief association funding. The money helps to save lives and protect property by funding equipment purchases, critical training and insurance for volunteer firefighters and emergency service providers.

The pension aid and volunteer firefighter funding comes from a 2 percent state tax on casualty and fire insurance premiums paid to out-of-state insurance companies. In addition to distributing the state aid each fall, the Department of the Auditor General audits local government pension plans and volunteer firefighters’ relief associations.

A report detailing the amount of state pension and volunteer firefighter aid distributed to each municipality is available by going to www.paauditor.gov.

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