MURPHY, N.C.- County Manager Randy Wiggins explained to the Cherokee Board of Commissioners how Senate Bill 179 and House Bill 278 would affect the county if passed, possibly costing Cherokee County taxpayers large amounts of money in the future.
According to the resolution before the Board at its bi-monthly meeting on Monday, April 1, 2019, “Taxpayers would bear the entire cost of this new retirement benefit without local elected officials having a say in this decision” and “would be paid solely by the last employer creating a deterrent to the hiring of late-career firefighters and rescue squad members reducing the benefit to (Cherokee County) and towns from seasoned hires.”
SB 179 and HB 278 would pay firefighters and rescue squad workers an annual separation allowance equaling eighty-five hundreths percent (0.85%) of their annual base rate separated into equal payments under the following conditions:
- “The firefighter or rescue squad worker has either completed 30 or more years of creditable service or attained the age of 60 with 25 or more years of service.”
- “Has not attained age 62.”
- “Has completed at least five years of continuous service rendered on or after July 1. 2019, immediately preceding in retirement service.”
In question is a service employee meeting the above requirements prior to retirement with possibly a few years left in the current system in another county relocating to Cherokee County. Should the County pay for the separation allowance once the firefighter, rescue squad worker, or EMS worker this benefit once relocated here for the remainder of their service years and has retired?
Upon some discussion by the Board, weighing the facts of the bills and its affect on the County, they voted unanimously to pass their resolution opposing SB 179 and HB 278.
The North Carolina bill’s primary sponsors were State Senators Brent Jackson (R), Danny Britt (R), and Tom McInnis (R) and was filed on March 4, 2019.
Other items the Board approved were:
- The adoption of Updated Local Government Records Retention and Disposition Schedule after records “do not and will not have further use or value for official business, research, or reference purposes after the respective retention periods.”
- Valley River Pickleball Association requested to “install two permanent nets on the other two designated pickelball courts.”
- The budget revision by Cherokee County school system for cameras mentioned at the March 18 meeting for an increase of $30,614.
- Applicants for Boards/Commissions/Committee were chosen. Christie Standish will be the permanent member with Shannon Greathead as the Alternate.
The next Commissioners meeting will be held on Monday, April 15, 2019, at the County Courthouse.
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