Council authorizes retirement incentive for Anniston city employees
by Paige Rentz
May 29, 2013 | 4632 views |  0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an effort to reduce the city’s workforce and trim labor expenses, the Anniston City Council on Tuesday approved a one-time retirement incentive for city employees.

City Manager Don Hoyt said city officials anticipate budget constraints and feel that one of the ways to ease the pinch is to encourage retirements. Some of the positions could be eliminated or restructured to increase productivity and save the city money.

“It’s a humane way of reducing staff,” he said.

The measure would allow employees who take the incentive to maintain employee health care rates until age 65. The difference between retiree and employee rates currently amount to $348 a month for family coverage and $195 monthly for individual insurance plans.

In order to take advantage of the incentive, an employee must be vested in the city’s retirement system and turn 54 by the end of the year. The deadline to enroll in the program is July 1.

City Finance Director Danny McCullars said 21 of the city’s more than 350 employees are eligible to take advantage of the incentive.

McCullars said it costs the city about $950,000 to employ those individuals. The city wouldn’t see that much savings through the incentive, he said, because some of the positions would have to be refilled.

McCullars and Hoyt said the city’s savings are hard to predict because they don’t yet know how many employees will take advantage of the offer or which positions could be eliminated or restructured.

“Where it’s going to land, we don’t know,” McCullars said, “but it’s going to be a significant savings.”

In other business, the council:

-- Authorized reimbursements to city officials for expenses incurred while traveling away from the city.

-- Overruled objections to the abatement of identified nuisance vehicles.

-- Declared two sets of bleachers surplus property and authorized their donation to the town of Ohatchee.

-- Authorized the donation of two surplus vehicles to the Anniston City Board of Education.

-- Authorized Mayor Vaughn Stewart to execute agreements with the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama to administer grants to Anniston’s social services agencies.

-- Authorized an increase of the employees’ contributions to the Employees’ Retirement System from 5 percent to 7.5 percent.

-- Authorized Hoyt to execute a landowner access agreement with Anniston PCB Natural Resource Trustees to enter property at parcel 4596 in Anniston to conduct scientific research.

-- Authorized $3,440 for the purchase of historical markers for the Woodstock 5K route.

Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.
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