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Pension cost increases proposed for Bel Air employees

The Bel Air Town Commissioners are expected to introduce two bills next week that would increase employee contributions to their pension plans.

The bills, discussed at Tuesday's work session, deal with the Civilian Pension Plan and the Sworn Officer's Pension Plan, both of which Town Administrator Chris Schlehr said require that if any additional funds are needed, employees are to bear the costs.

A 1.5 percent contribution increase is proposed in the Civilian Pension Plan, according to Director of Administration Joyce Oliver, and 2.22 percent increase proposed in the Sworn Officer's Pension Plan.

These increases are required in the plans based on results from an actuary evaluation, according to Schlehr. The additional funds are needed because of market conditions and the town is updating its mortality tables, which haven't been changed since the 1980s.

If approved, the increases, mandatory for all employees, would take effect on Dec. 28 to be included in the first pay in January, Oliver said.

If passed, the total contribution for civilians would amount to 3.5 percent and the sworn officers at 9.22 percent, Finance Director Lisa Moody said.

Commissioners are also scheduled to vote on two contracts, including one for approximately $13,000 to replace carpeting and flooring in town hall, Public Works Director Randolph Robertson said. The project is funded in last year's budget.

The other bid is to demolish the Branch Banking and Trust building the town purchased in August for more than $1 million, and have the site repaved for a 33-space parking lot.

The six bids on this project range from $251,230 up to approximately $420,000, Robertson said, and it was originally estimated to come in between $250,000 and $300,000.

Bel Air residents will also have an opportunity to comment on two bills up for public hearings next week.

Commissioners are holding a public hearing at the start of their business meeting on Dec. 19 for residents to comment on the adequate public facilities and development regulations amendment ordinances.

During the work session Tuesday evening, Director of Planning Kevin Small said he had received comments from both the county and local developers about the adequate public facilities ordinance and expects more during the work session.

If need be, Schlehr noted that commissioners could postpone the public facilities vote until the first meeting in January.

Other business

Commissioners will recognize Sgt. Richard Carter and Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School fifth-grader Erin Bourn next week, as well as Christmas parade organizer Michael Blum.

The next meeting is Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in town hall at 39 N. Hickory Ave.

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