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Longboat Key Thursday, Apr. 15, 2010 11 years ago

Commission defers pension study

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

The Longboat Key Town Commission agreed not to pay for a $108,000 pension plan study after listening to two of its pension board trustees.

Both firefighter pension board trustee Arnold Malasky and police pension board trustee Michael Seamon told the commission the study should not be paid for until the Legislature potentially makes changes to town pension plans statewide.

The commission also agreed that the current pension plans in place help to attract quality police and fire staffing that may leave if the plans are altered.

The commission, however, is still open to pension plan alterations that will help save the town money.

Town Manager Bruce St. Denis also reported that the $1.6 million the town has in its current fiscal year budget isn’t enough to fund the plans this year. Another $400,000 is needed, according to St. Denis and Finance Director Tom Kelley, to fund plan shortfalls that occurred, in part, because no town employees took advantage of an early retirement incentive.

St. Denis agreed to delay the pension study, also explaining that a new firefighter contract proposal submitted to the town this week should also be considered before the town moves forward.

St. Denis also told the commission during a budget presentation that he believes he needs both a police chief and a fire chief to oversee each department and does not believe a public services director overseeing both departments will work or save much money.

The commission agreed with the town manager’s assessment and agreed to look into a suggestion by Mayor George Spoll to possibly eliminate the fire marshal position.

St. Denis also explained Police Chief Al Hogle would be asking this summer to add at least two more patrol officers because he’s unhappy with level of service and the amount of crime the island has experienced since the positions were eliminated over the last two years.

The commission also approved a $225,000 budget transfer for a project that will bring 7,500 cubic yards of sand to the north end of the island by May 1. That project could begin in the next couple of weeks.

Also at its workshop today at Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road, the commission:

• A preliminary budget that shows the town is looking at another $500,000 shortfall in its current fiscal year and another anticipated 10% reduction in property values.

• A draft ordinance that places a referenda question on the March 2011 town ballot that addresses term limits as applied to partial terms. The ordinance could be enacted at a later date.

• A draft ordinance that addresses term limits as applied to partial terms. The ordinance will move forward to a regular meeting.

• Not to form a charter review committee at this time to address issues regarding term limits and commissioner pay raised by Commissioner Robert Siekmann.

• To allow town staff to apply to become a "Tennis Town USA,” which comes along with a $100,000 first-prize award.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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