Fireman pension assistance topic at City Council meeting

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    Nicole Tracy
    Reporter
    NASHVILLE – Firemen’s pensions,
    a review of the 2013 city audit, and
    a possible cost of living increase
    were major topics discussed at the
    Nashville City Council meeting on
    Tuesday evening.
    The city of Nashville is looking
    into possible options to assist the
    city’s retired firemen’s pension and
    relief fund. The plan in question is
    a single-employer defined benefit
    pension plan that covers municipal
    firemen employed prior to January
    1, 1983. The plan, administered
    by the city, provides retirement,
    disability, and survivor benefits to
    retirees and their spouses.
    There are eleven retirees and six
    survivors on the plan that draw a
    total of $48,000 per year. Benefit
    and contribution provisions are
    established by State law and can
    be amended only by the Arkansas
    General Assembly. John Turbeville
    and Carrie Carr, representatives
    with Concert Wealth Management
    addressed the Nashville City Council
    during the meeting on the topic
    and stated that Act 979, enacted in
    2011 by the Arkansas State General
    Assembly was the reason there was
    a cut off in a major part of insurance
    turnback funding for the pension
    plan.
    Turbeville said they want to
    avoid invading the principal and
    requested the city assist in meeting
    the difference to keep the same
    level, about $1500 a month. The
    fund currently has around $480,000.
    City Finance Director Jimmy Dale
    pointed out that they want funding
    from the city to keep the pension
    level, and not cause an increase.
    “They’ve had it (the pension)
    over the years and each individual
    contributed to it, plus the city
    matched it and they also got fire
    premiums from the state. Act 979
    in 2011 stopped a major portion of
    the premium coming back to the fire
    pensions. As a consequence of that,
    they are getting closer to having to
    get into the principal. They want the
    city to contribute to help maintain
    that,” Dale said.
    No action was taken and Mayor
    Billy Ray Jones said they would consider
    the proposal as city officials
    start to work on budget preparations
    for next year.
    The 2013 audit of the
    City of Nashville was also
    discussed during the meeting.
    Jimmy Dale presented
    the review, and stated that
    “Things are going good for
    the city. We did have a few
    problems with transfers
    of funds being improperly
    coded in the finances, but
    those problems have been
    fixed.” Dale then went on to
    say that the city of Nashville
    found and recovered
    roughly $15,000 in outstanding
    checks that had
    never been cashed, therefore
    were voided, during
    the audit process.
    The council approved
    the audit, and it was passed
    11-0.
    Two budget workshops
    have been set in November
    and Mayor Jones proposed
    a cost of living raise
    for all city employees.
    Jones stated that instead
    of a three percent raise,
    a five percent raise is being
    proposed for employees
    making less than $13
    an hour and a two percent
    raise for employees
    making more than $13 an
    hour. He says this proposal
    would allow everyone
    to receive the same
    raise, while saving the city
    money when compared
    to giving everyone a flat
    three percent raise.
    The council approved
    and passed Resolution
    2015-05, which would keep
    the millage rate in the city
    the same in 2016 as it was
    in 2015. The current rate
    is 1.6 mills for the city
    from real estate, and 1.6
    mills for city from personal
    property.
    Absent from the meeting
    were council member Kay
    Gathright and City Attorney
    Bryan Chessir. All other
    members were present.