A retirement account for former Barnwell County Hospital workers is getting new life from the Barnwell County Council.
The account was started in the 1990s for the hospital’s employees. At the time, the county owned the hospital.
The account currently holds about $600,000 in assets but hasn’t been funded since Southern Palmetto Hospital took over
operations. The hospital closed unexpectedly in January.
Members of the county council decided to ensure about 55 to 60 former county employees were cared for and took over the “orphaned” account.
Part of the challenge for the council is that the account hasn’t been funded in years, County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. said.
Councilman Keith Sloan said the account’s funding schedule was “already a half-million in the hole” because it had not been added to over the years.
The account had been handled by TransAmerica, but that institution notified the county a few months ago that it would no longer be handling the account because of its relatively small size, the administrator told the council.
Williams said the account administration was put out for bid. Out of the three responses, said Williams, BB&T was awarded the bid.
Amy Dixon, the assistant vice president for BB&T’s retirement and institutional services, met with council members Sept. 22 to give an overview of the account and get the necessary
signatures on account documents.
She said the county’s move to secure the retirement account “is a noble thing for you to do.”
BB&T will take over the account and begin distributing checks Nov. 1.
Dixon said the account will be handled on a “balanced” and “conservative” strategy invested in
mutual funds “to reduce risk.”
BB&T has been designated as the account manager. The council agreed for the account fees, estimated to be $12,000 a year, to be invoiced to the county instead of automatically withdrawn from the account. Sloan said this would “allow the account to grow.”
Additionally, the council members agreed to leave $35,000 in cash to allow
for at least one month’s payout.
A report of the status of the account was requested to be in the council’s monthly meeting packet going
forward. Dixon said the county will have online access to view the account at any time.