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Fire Relief Association asks for increase in retirement benefits

Glencoe Fire Relief Association President Kelly Mahon, accompanied by treasurer Jon Dahlke and Cory Scheidt, requested the Glencoe City Council Finance and Strategic Planning Committee to consider increasing the city’s contribution from $2,500 per year of service to $2,900 per year of service at its Wednesday, Aug. 23, meeting. The relief association provides a retirement benefit to volunteer firefighters, with the benefit based on years of service to the fire department.
Historically, the increases have been made in $200 increments, not $400. This would increase the Fire Relief Association’s normal costs from $42,839 to $49,694; the city’s contribution would increase from $25,491 in 2017 to $35,207 in 2018. This would also decrease the Fire Relief Association’s funded ratio from 112.37 percent to 102.12 percent.
It was the recommendation of the administration at the July 17 City Council meeting to continue with the historical increase of $200 per year of service and increase to $2,700 per year of service, which would leave the funded ratio at 107 percent.
According to Mahon, an increase in contribution would be beneficial based on the changes the fire department is experiencing, including increased safety requirement training and annual driving certifications (16 hours of training per apparatus), all of which take up more time. Mahon said that it takes approximately 88 days out of the year to be a firefighter, not including calls.
Mayor Randy Wilson and City Administrator Mark Larson voiced their concerns about the possibility of the market and the association’s investments doing poorly. If that happens, the city of Glencoe would responsible for paying relief pensions.
“If your fund for whatever reason crashes and burns, the city is on the hook,” said Larson.
For more about the request, see the Aug. 30 print edition of The Chronicle.