LAMPASAS — County officials held a lengthy debate Monday in the Lampasas Commissioners Court meeting to discuss providing a cost-of-living adjustment for the county’s retirees.

Currently, the county has about 54 employees who retired under the Texas County & District Retirement System plan.

The state oversees disbursements made under the plan; however, officials said the benefits don’t automatically increase to compensate for inflation.

The commissioners heard a presentation from Tim Krause, a retirement system representative, who outlined some options for the group to consider.

“There are a couple of studies we’ve created with the cost-of-living adjustment increases, and remember, the plan is just a savings-based plan,” Krause said. “Every time you authorize a cost-of-living adjustment, you’ve got to add an additional layer of cost to the benefits.”

By state law, the retirement system must ensure the county saves enough for retirement benefits.

“The good news is, you have been paying a higher rate; but understand, if you do nothing at all, you are still paying down an unfunded rate,” Krause said.

County Auditor Chris Munn said Lampasas County is paying retirement benefits at a rate of 16 percent, which is above the required amount of 15.21 percent.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cox suggested the group take no action, leave the benefits at the current rate and let the item come up for discussion during the next budget cycle. But his motion died for lack of support.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Vincent proposed they approve a 90 percent cost-of-living adjustment to begin budgeting for an almost certain increase in the future, but his motion also died.

More than an hour into the discussion, Cox again suggested the group take no action since they were unable to reach an agreement. His motion passed by a 4 to 1 vote, with Vincent in opposition.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Lowell Ivey was absent from the meeting.

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