New Albany News

Plain Township trustees wary of law's effect on pension payments

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Plain Township trustees are considering if they should increase the amount the township pays into firefighters' pensions in response to changes in state law.

Township Fiscal Officer Bud Zappitelli said March 6 the state is increasing employee contributions to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund by 0.75 percent each year for the next three years.

The changes were approved in September as part of Ohio Senate Bill 343, according to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund website. Active firefighters' contribution rates will increase from 10 percent to 12.25 percent.

Zappitelli said the township has paid the firefighters' entire pension contributions as a benefit, sometimes in lieu of raises.

"We have done this before only because it's in the best interest of the township," he said.

Zappitelli said the township pays $2.8 million in salaries for the fire department so the increase would cost $20,000 annually.

The trustees said they were not comfortable voting on the payment at the March 6 meeting without determining the full effect on the township.

"We need the financial implications of this," Trustee Dave Olmstead said.

Township Administrator Ben Collins said staff members could determine how the increase would impact the budget.

Assistant Fire Chief Jack Rupp told the trustees that Fire Chief John Hoovler included the pension-payment increase in his 2013 budget.

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