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Questions still remain about fire, rescue retirement program

January 04, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Some questions have been answered about a retirement program for fire and rescue volunteers but some remain unresolved.

Although the program has been discussed for almost five years, County Administrator Rodney Shoop at a Dec. 21 meeting told the County Commissioners that the former board of commissioners did not vote on the program.

But Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association leaders thought the program had been adopted, however.

Since then, Shoop was shown a newspaper story that said the program, which provides up to $350 monthly for retired volunteers with more than 25 years experience, was informally adopted at a budget workshop in March 1998. It was never formally approved by the commissioners during a regular meeting.

That newspaper story also partially cleared up another misunderstanding discussed at the Dec. 21 meeting: Who would pay for the program?

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Under the proposal adopted in March 1998, the association agreed to split the cost of the program in its first year, which would be 2007.

The County Commissioners will pay $150,000 for the first year and the association will chip in $135,000, with $5,000 coming from each fire company, Shoop said.

The association believes it only promised to split the cost the first year, Association President Jay Grimes said, but the county thought that promise was for every year of the program.

In February Human Resources Director Alan Davis will meet again with the County Commissioners about the program and provide updated estimates on the program's annual cost. In 1998, annual cost was estimated at $350,000.

Davis said he believes the County Commissioners should formally adopt the program to clear up any misunderstanding.

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