Commission approves cost-of-living allowance for county retirees

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Retired county employees can expect a little extra money this Christmas as the county commission voted 4-2 in favor of a one-time cost-of-living allowance for retirees.

Harry Sanders, county administrator, explained that the State Legislature voted for the allowance for state employees in the recent legislative session and gave the option for counties to do the same.

The total cost of the allowance to the county will be just over $22,000, which will be factored into the county’s payments to the Retirement Systems of Alabama.

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“It comes out of our retirement payments each month,” Sanders said. “It would impact our monthly payments by 0.061 percent.”

Commissioners Chad Copeland, District 4, and Russell Johnson, District 6, voted against the resolution.

“I want to make sure I understand what I’m voting for before I vote for it,” Copeland said. “I’m not saying I’m for it or against it, I just want to make sure I have a clear understanding of it.

“It’s hard because every time something comes up we say we don’t have the funding for it. So when we spend more money on the little things, it’s like saying ‘I don’t have enough money to grade your road, but over the year I spent enough money to buy a new grader and grade these roads.’ We all have to answer to the people of Pike County.”

Homer Wright, District 1, pushed for the commission to go ahead with the vote Monday night and made a motion to approve the allowance, which also gained approval from Robin Sullivan, District 2; Jimmy Barron, District 3; and Charlie Harris, District 5.

The commission also asked Russell Oliver to bring back numbers on what they could do to repair or replace a bridge that had to be closed under emergency due to a lack of support.

Johnson also informed the other members of the commission that the jail committee will be holding its public meeting Thursday at 1 p.m. to conduct a question and answer session with TCU Consulting Services about the jail feasibility study.

The next commission meeting will be held upstairs at the Pike County Health Department at 6 p.m., preceded by a work session at 5:15 p.m. The jail committee meeting will also be held upstairs at 1 p.m. Thursday.