(BEDFORD) - The Bedford City Council voted to offer early retirement incentives, a move that could cut the city's employee roster saving taxpayers money and established a fund so the city can use insurance savings for some expenses.
According to the Times-Mail, since Mayor Shawna Girgis took office in 2008, the city has twice offered similar incentives for employees who retire early. The most recent was in 2011.
The package adopted Tuesday night, would apply to city employees who are 62 or older and have at least 20 years of service. Currently there are four employees who are eligible for the package, and at least two have shown interest in it.
Under the incentive, the city will continue paying the employer's part of the health insurance package from the time the person retires until he is eligible for Medicare.
Deputy Clerk-Treasurer and Director of Operations Lisa Zehrrer says if the two people take the package, the plan would cost the city about $59,250, but would save the city about $325,000 in salaries and benefits.
Girgis says, if the two employees, one from the street department and the other at the water plant, retire early, the city will not replace them - other employees would absorb their tasks.
The council also agreed to establish a group insurance fund.
The city has a partially self-funded health insurance plan, a fund of money used to pay claims.
Mayor Girgis told the board claims have been low and as a result the pool of funds has grown to about $3 million. The board voted to put that money into the group insurance fund. That way the money can be used for health insurance premiums and claims and other health and wellness initiatives for employees and retirees of the city like flu shots and wellness checks.
The code also contains a clause mandating that the city will "suspend expenditures other than health insurance premiums and claims if the group insurance fund balance falls below $650,000."
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