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Hall County Commission: Retirement plan under review
More than 60 county employees may be affected
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Hall County Commissioner Bobby Banks proposed Thursday that the Hall County Board of Commissioners take a closer look at a retirement plan that may prompt more than 60 county employees to retire before June 30 in order to receive the full benefits of their original plan.

Commissioners unanimously approved the motion to request Hall County Administrator Jim Shuler to research the details of the county’s two different retirement plans.

Hall County government adopted a new retirement plan in 1998 that Banks said is not quite as rewarding to county employees as the previous plan under which 64 retirement-eligible county employees still qualify.

Those employees have defined benefits frozen in 1998 that may be deflated if they continue working for the county after June 30, he said.

"They’ve got to retire by June 30 to retain the benefits of the old plan, where the county put in 12 percent of annual salary," Banks said. "And some may not want to retire."

Banks said the previous plan only allows county employees to be eligible for retirement when the sum of their age and their years of employment equals 75, which is known as the "rule of 75."

"I’m really not happy that we’re making some 50-year-olds retire who have 25 years of service in the county," Banks said. "The 70-year-olds who want to retire, I don’t have a problem with that.

"It’s the 50-year-olds who don’t want to retire that I have a problem with. Then we’ll have to hire and train new employees and pay all the costs associated with that."

Banks also said the county may reveal a new retirement plan on July 1 that could bring further changes to the county’s current retirement package.

Hall County Board of Commissioners also authorized advancements in the Spout Springs Road and Mulberry Creek sewer projects Thursday.

The commission approved $530,000 for the design and engineering costs of the Spout Springs sewer facility, which will service the new middle and high schools to be built on Spout Springs Road, as well as Spout Springs Elementary, Banks said.

He added that it will cost about $2 million to run the sewer line to the new middle and high schools, but the school board will share the costs of the project.

The two new schools, as well as the sewer lines, are scheduled to be completed by July 2009.

The city of Gainesville is overseeing the engineering and design of the Spout Springs Road plant, and the county approved to reimburse the city for 5 percent of project costs as determined by an intergovernmental agreement.

In addition, the commission authorized the design, easement acquisition and construction services for the Mulberry Creek sewer project which totals about $1,391,700.

Banks said the Mulberry Creek sewer line will extend along Winder Highway from a point near Blooming Way subdivision to a pump station near Summerfield Plantation.

Banks said the sewer lines will be in place within two years and will service Winder Highway, which is currently undergoing a two-lane expansion that could potentially support primarily commercial business.

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