The Scottsboro City Council approved a resolution to opt in to Tier 1 retirement benefits for city employees at its meeting Monday evening.

Scottsboro Fire Chief Gene Necklaus discussed some details of the conversion at the meeting. He said it would allow employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013 to participate in the retirement system with the Tier 1 benefits. The council supported the act with a resolution last year before the act was passed.

Necklaus said he has looked at some rough actuarial numbers and estimates from the Retirement System of Alabama, and it would cost the city approximately $35,000 to $40,000 per year.

“It’s happening at municipalities all around us,” said Necklaus. “Guntersville, Cullman, Muscle Shoals and Albertville are opting in. It would be a consideration for new hires and current employees. If we lose a guy and he goes to Guntersville, it would cost us anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 to train a new employee to fill that position. We like the guys we have.”

Necklaus said he was working to get hard numbers. He suggested the council pass a resolution to opt in on Oct. 1 so it can be funded in budget hearings. He encouraged the council to pass the resolution.

Street Department Director Wayne Moore said his employees wanted the council to move forward with it. Several city police officers and firefighters were in attendance to show support for the Tier 1 conversion.

Councilman Richard Bailey said this is a great way to retain employees. He said it does not fix starting pay, but it is a big step for city employees.

Councilman Mike Ashburn said all employees with the police and fire departments signed in support for the Tier 1 conversion. He was glad to see all employees go to Tier 1 benefits.

Councilman Greg Mashburn said he does not want to lose employees, and this protects city employees. He said he appreciates everyone for their hard work.

Council President Patrick Stewart said it was good to see employees at the meeting in support of something they are so passionate about wanting to change. He said he was glad the council was able to make the change especially in these uncertain times.

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