City to amend savings plan

First Posted: 11/12/2011

LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council will meet Monday to give its final approval to a change in the city’s supplemental retirement plan in an effort to decrease its contribution while discouraging employee turnover.

According to City Manager Wayne Horne, the city currently contributes 4 percent of each general employee’s annual salary into a 401-k account. That does not include police officers, who receive a 5 percent match as required by state law.

Horne said that in 2010, 11 general employees with less than five years of service left their jobs with the city. The total contributions paid was $29,966.

“An amendment to the current supplemental retirement plan is being proposed to help reduce the city’s cost in providing contributions to general employees,” Horne said. “We’re losing $30,000.”

At the monthly Policy Committee meeting, the council discussed two options. The first would implement a one-year vesting period, meaning that an employee must work one year before being eligible to receive the 4 percent contribution.

The second, which was approved by the council in a 7-1 vote, would implement a vesting schedule with a graduated contribution scale. The city would contribute 1 percent to an employee’s 401-k after one year of service and the percentage contributed would increase with each year of service, up to 4 percent.

This change would not affect current employees or police officers.

“The employees are the city,” said Councilman Erich Hackney. “We’ve always, in the past, worked to do right by them. But it’s an incentive to keep them working with us longer and earning more.”

Councilman John Cantey opposed the change, saying that he did not want to take any future savings from employees.

Votes taken during the Policy Committee meeting are subject to final approval during the council’s regular monthly meeting. The meeting will be held in the council’s chambers on the third floor of City Hall on Monday at 7 p.m.

In other business, the council is expected to:

— Approve a draft of the bid request for residential solid waste collection services, which includes options for curbside recycling and backdoor collection in addition to the services already offered by the city.

— Approve a letter of appreciation to be sent to the Lumber River Council of Governments for its assistance in the city’s redistricting process.

— Approve October tax releases in the amount of $3,722.14.

— Approve a contract with the Wooten Company in the amount of $294,800 for its engineering services for the third phase of a sanitary sewer and storm water separation project in West Lumberton. The project is expected to cost $2.5 million, with much of it covered by a $900,000 grant and $900,000 loan from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources,

— Approve an encroachment agreement for Riverside Antiques and Things, located at 119 W. Fourth St., for an awning.

— Designate $2,101 of community revitalization funds to Toys to Tots.

— Designated $800 of community revitalization funds to the M25 Bikers Annual Toy Run in the following amounts.

— Designate $900 of community revitalization funds to Tanglewood Elementary School for the positive behavioral support program and beautification.

— Designate $1,000 of community revitalization funds from Precinct 6 in the following amounts: $350 to Mavis Singletary, of 108 Powell St., and $650 to Lela Crawford, of 171 Winslow St., for housing repairs.

— Designate $850 of community revitalization funds from Precinct 1 in the following amounts: $300 to Wycliffe Home Association; $250 to Wycliffe East Home Association; and $300 to Oaks Home Association.

Staff writer Ali Rockett can be reached at (910) 272-6127 or [email protected]

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