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Powers: Ventura County keeping close watch on portfolio

By   /   Thursday, March 15th, 2012  /   Comments Off on Powers: Ventura County keeping close watch on portfolio

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Ventura County will closely monitor returns on its investment portfolio to make sure an 8 percent gain is reasonable, county CEO Mike Powers said in a March 15 talk.

Speaking in Ventura at the quarterly California Lutheran University Corporate Leaders Breakfast, Powers said that while 8 percent has been a historically accurate return, constant monitoring will be the norm going forward. Although the county’s pension plan is 80 percent funded and one of the healthiest in the state, the Ventura County Taxpayers Association and others have questioned underlying assumptions for the plan.

In his talk, Powers delivered an upbeat assessment of the county’s economy and fiscal condition. The $1.7 billion budget is balanced, and the county is learning how to “use technology to drive efficiency,” he said. That has allowed the county to add $7 million to its reserves.

His talk came the same day that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, lowered its assumed rate of return to 7.5 percent from 7.75 percent, the first time the nation’s largest public pension system has downgraded its outlook since the recession. The assumed rate is used to calculate how much money the fund expects to have, and how much it needs to cover benefits promised to government workers.

In Ventura County, Powers also noted that efforts are being made to restore commercial air service to Oxnard and he heralded a marketing effort to recruit business to the county.

About 200 people attended the breakfast at the Ventura Beach Marriott.

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