The Marblehead Retirement Board has proposed an increase in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation base for retirees and beneficiaries of the Marblehead pension system.
At present, the COLA adjustment of 3% is applied to the first $12,000 of a person’s total pension, known as the “COLA base.” The Retirement Board has unanimously voted to raise the base to $14,000, citing inflation.
However, the proposal still requires approval from the Town Meeting to become official, which is expected to be addressed under Article 33 on the 2023 Town Meeting warrant.
Retirement Board Chair Bob Peck emphasized that the COLA base has remained at $12,000 for many years. He said increasing the base is important, given the current economic climate.
“More and more municipalities are increasing their bases,” he said. “Crazy inflation made this COLA-increase decision obvious.”
If Article 33 is adopted, 325 retirees and beneficiaries would be eligible for the $14,000 base, effective from July 1, 2023. The Retirement Board analysis determined that the change would raise the average annual pension by $460.92 to $29,530.54, or $38.41 per month.
In all, the proposed increase from the $12,000 base to the $14,000 base would cost $15,998 more annually.