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News Maryland Harford County Bel Air

Bel Air town employees' pension contributions to increase in 2014

Bel Air town employees and police officers will be required to contribute an additional 2.4 percent of their pay toward their pensions in 2014.

The Board of Town Commissioners voted Monday to approve the additional contribution for employees in both civilian and sworn officer employee to pension plans in 2014.

Director of Administration Michael Krantz, said Bel Air employees' contributions lag behind the required contribution amount needed "to be considered full-fledged plans."

Sworn officers of the Bel Air Police Department are contributing about 66 percent to their pension plan's obligations and civil employees about 65 percent, Krantz said.

"For the pensions to be considered in good standing employees need to be contributing about 80 percent to their pension plans," he said.

The civilian employee's contribution will increase from 3.5 percent to 5.9 percent or his or her pay. Bel Air police officers' contribution will rise from 9.22 to 11.62 percent of an individual's pay. The contributions for sworn officers are higher because their service requirement to receive a pension is lower than for civilian employees.

The increase in contributions will go into effect during the pay period ending on Jan. 7, 2014.

The town contributes 8.7 percent to civilian employees pension plan and 9.4 percent to the sworn officers plan.

SWAT team equipment

The Town Board also approved a $24,005.47 purchase of special weapons equipment to aid Bel Air police officers, who will join a multi-jurisdiction SWAT team.

Earlier this year, the governing bodies of Harford County's three municipal governments approved creation of a 23 member multi-jurisdiction SWAT team to include police officers from the Town of Bel Air, City of Aberdeen and City of Havre de Grace.

The town is responsible for suppling the special equipment needed by five Bel Air officers in the multi-jurisdiction SWAT team, Bel Air Chief of Police Leo Matrangola explained.

The equipment will include ballistics helmets, enhanced protective vests, headsets and gear bags.

Cultural Arts Commission quorum

Legislation to reduce the number of members of the Cultural Arts Commission needed to hold an official meeting was also introduced at Monday's town meeting.

Ordinance 764-13 will reduce the number of members required for a quorum from five to three.

Trish Heidenreich, director of economic development, said the nine member board was created to "promote and support the arts." She said under the current legislation the board must have a "majority" of their board present to hold official meetings.

The board, whose members are appointed by the Town Board, is down to seven members because of vacancies at one of its busiest times of the year.

"They have a robust calendar of events and have to make financial decisions," Heidenreich said. "This will make it more flexible for them to make official decisions when necessary."

A public hearing on the ordinance will be held during the next town meeting on Jan. 6, 2014.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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