Cortez Fire Volunteer Pension Fund was set up to reward firefighters for their service, loyalty, and dedication to the Cortez Fire Volunteer Department and the current Cortez Fire Protection District. Provides pensions for all volunteer firemen with 10 years or more of service. To become eligible, active volunteer firefighters must meet a minimum of 36 hours each year dedicated to volunteering shifts for the District, the volunteer must also be 50 years of age for eligibility with at least 10 years of active service. The 36 hours includes required ride times, trainings, and apparatus and supply duties with the approval from the on duty Lieutenant and the Fire Chief. When a current Volunteer Pension member passes away, a funeral benefit lump sum amount is available to pay for services for the deceased. The surviving spouse may elect to receive 50% of their deceased spouse’s monthly benefit until they remarry or become deceased.
Board of Trustees of the Volunteer Firefighters Pension Fund was established according to the Volunteer Firefighter Pension Act to manage and regulate the monies and administration of Pension programs. Cortez Fire Pension Board members are Volunteers Larry Sharp and John Garcia and the 5 member CFPD Board of Directors. The Pension Administrator is Michelle Chandler. Pension Board meetings are held quarterly in January, April, July, and October each year. Currently, there are 39 Pension members which include some deceased members’ wives who receive 50% of the Pension member’s monthly benefit. There are an additional eight (8) active volunteers that are either eligible for Pension benefits once they reach the age of 50 years. One of these volunteers has met the age limit and is completing the required service hours to become a vested member.
Funding for the District Pension Fund include an investment account managed by a financial advisor, CFPD quarterly contributions, and a Colorado State Grant that is applied for every year which is based on 90% of the annual District contributions.
History of the District Volunteer Firefighters Pension Fund
The Cortez Volunteer Fire Department began the Fund for those firefighters
that are rewarded for volunteering their unpaid years of service and dedication
to the safety and protection of the community members of Montezuma County.
The Fund became established for paymentsbeginning distribution to eligible members
starting around the year 1975. Statistically, this Pension distribution has steadily grown since 1975.
1975: 6 members received benefits
1986: no change in members
2003: 25 members received benefits
2013: 32 members received benefits
2020: 39 members currently receive benefits
Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado
Full-time firefighters participate in the Statewide Defined Benefit Plan – Fire and Police Pension Plan (FPPA SWDB). Provides normal, early, vested, or deferred retirement and death benefits. Full-time firefighters are required to contribute a percentage per paycheck to the plan; the District is also required to contribute a percentage of each employee’s pay per paycheck to the plan. The percentages required are established by the FPPA Board of Directors.
Government regulation for Pension Plan Administration
Actuarial Studies help to assess the soundness of Pension investments and monies. These studies are required in Colorado for Local Governments.
An Independent Actuary performs reports required by the State regulations within the Volunteer Firefighter Pension Act: Title 31, Articles 30, Part 11 CRS. An actuarial valuation is prepared to determine if the current annual level of contributions and investment fund soundness is adequate in funding benefits to pension members provided by the District. Service costs, total pension liability, and related actuarial present values of projected benefit payments are acceptable or if they need adjusted. These studies are conducted every even year. A summarized update is conducted every odd year. These studies are required for Governmental audits performed each year for submittal to the State of Colorado. The annual Actuarial study requires the District’s Pension Fund and the Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado’s data for completion of the required reports.