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Thursday, April 17, 2014
How does the retirement system work?

Each year, the Village of Rockville Centre and the Rockville Centre School District pay millions of taxpayer dollars into public retirement systems, as mandated by New York state. The following article seeks to answer some common taxpayer questions regarding the systems and their workings.

What are the major retirement systems in New York State?

The two major retirement systems for civil servants in New York are the Employee Retirement System (ERS) and the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). The ERS, the largest public retirement system in the state and the third-largest in the nation, manages the retirement and ancillary benefit funds for all non-scholastic state employees, including non-teaching school district employees. It is comprised of roughly 3,000 employers including state, county and local governments, the MTA and school districts — with the notable exclusion of New York City — and is run by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The TRS, the state’s second-largest system, functions similarly, and serves all public school teachers and administrators outside New York City.

Who pays into the system, and how?

According to Eric Sumberg, a press secretary for the ERS, both employers and employees are expected to pay into the retirement system, with employees generally paying three percent of their salary and employers paying around 20 percent from funds raised via local taxes.

In Rockville Centre, full-time village employees are required to pay a varying percentage of their salary into the system, although contributions are optional for part-time and seasonal workers.

Police and firefighters have their own system. Although the village contributes to the system on their behalf every year, police and firefighters are not required to pay into it themselves. The village itself has budgeted $4.1 million to pay into the system this year with $1.5 million allotted for state employees and $2.6 million for police.

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