Feb 18, 2014 3:44 PM by Dave Fields

Lafayette City-Parish Council may authorize increased police & fire retiree pay

The Lafayette City-Parish Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday night, is expected to consider the authorization of a two percent cost-of-living pay increase to certain retired police officers and firefighters.

When the city police and fire pension systems merged with statewide retirement systems more than a decade ago, local government agreed to provide up to two percent annually in cost of living increases if the state did not do so. Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups clarified that the proposed cost of living adjustment (COLA) applies to former city of Lafayette firefighters and police officers who were deemed "eligible merged retirees."

"This is for the retirees or his/her beneficiaries that were receiving benefits when the City of Lafayette police and fire retirees and state of Louisiana retirement systems merged in 1998," Toups explained.

The measure is up for final adoption and Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft intends to be in attendance, a police spokesperson said.

The annual increase is based on the Consumer Price Index, which is 1.5 percent for 2013, Toups wrote in a memo. The state is not granting any cost of living increase this year, but because firefighter retirees "successfully passed some state legislation basically fixing their COLA at two percent," the council is being asked to grant the two percent increase, she wrote.

For retired firefighters, the cost is $308,252 paid through the Firemen's Pension and Relief Fund, Toups wrote. But this will be the last year the city can provide this relief from that fund because the fund balance will be reduced to $80,000, she wrote.

The two percent increase for retired police officers is $311,561. Only $280,120 was budgeted from the City General Fund, so another $31,441 is needed, Toups wrote.

Also on the agenda is transferring $1.2 million from the Fernwood Drive Outfall project to the projected site of Fire Station No. 15 at the corner of Settlers Trace Boulevard and Beaullieu Drive in River Ranch, which is owned by Lafayette Consolidated Government.

The money will be used to install a subsurface drainage structure in the drainage channel so that driveways and parking lots can be constructed on the lot.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 705 W. University Ave.



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