Resolution gives Salisbury firefighters a way forward in Social Security efforts – Salisbury Post – Community News
Social Security

Resolution gives Salisbury firefighters a way forward in Social Security efforts – Salisbury Post

By Natalie Anderson
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SALISBURY – The City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution that kicks off the process for a vote among Salisbury firefighters to rejoin the Social Security program.

Firefighters in Salisbury are not paying for the Social Security program due to a decision taken decades ago. They are the only city government employees who are not subject to Social Security withholding despite being covered by the retirement plan through the local government pension scheme.

The newly approved resolution gives Salisbury firefighters the opportunity to vote, but city attorney Graham Corriher said it is only the first step. The resolution also authorizes Corriher to work with the Regional Office of the Social Security Administration and the North Carolina Social Security Administrator to begin the process, which is expected to include notice before the vote, among other procedural matters.

“It will ultimately be their decision, but this only gives the City Council support to give them that choice,” Corriher said. “Because it’s a multi-step process, I want to get started on it as soon as possible.”

Since July, members of the Salisbury Fire Service have been calling for higher wages and benefits for firefighters to stay competitive with surrounding markets and retain the members who helped achieve a Class No. 1 ISO rating earlier this year. achieve. Out of concern about increased job openings in the Salisbury Fire Department, in November the city used preliminary data from an ongoing citywide salary survey to award interim increases for firefighters averaging 5% across the department. The study is likely to indicate a need for further increases once completed, which is expected to be in the spring of next year.

Funding for pay increases was drawn from the $258,000 earmarked in the current budget to study recruitment and retention issues, and in August $40,000 was awarded to The MAPS Group to conduct a full survey of all departments.

Another option for firefighters the city is exploring is the implementation of a 457 plan, an IRS-sanctioned employee retirement plan offered by state and local government agencies, along with some nonprofit employers. That plan offers a greater return on investment, but does not include the spouse death benefits provided to Social Security recipients.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting:

• Councilors agreed to host future bi-monthly council meetings in a hybrid format, allowing for virtual and face-to-face participation. They asked city officials to continue to closely monitor the status of COVID-19 infections to return to virtual meetings if necessary. Masks are required for in-person meetings, although Councilor David Post pointed out that no councilors wore their masks during the meeting. Councilor Harry McLaughlin suggested additional safety measures, such as temperature checks.

• The council approved amendment to the land development map CD-06-2021 to repurpose an approximately 12.84 acre parcel at 1040 Julian Road from rural to mixed-use living. The request includes a conditional overlay of the district to allow for a 212-unit multi-family apartment complex known as phase two of The Grand on Julian Road, which was completed and opened in 2009. The Salisbury Planning Board approved on Nov. 10 the request for the construction of eight three-storey condominiums comprising 42 one-bedroom units, 110 two-bedroom units and 60 three-bedroom units.

• The City has issued a demolition permit for the RB Miller Building at 317 East Liberty St. and the Downtown Local Historic District. The demolition was approved by the Historic Preservation Commission at its Nov. 10 meeting. The request is from Gray Stout, an architect in Charlotte who is working with Rowan Helping Ministries to provide 12 additional homes. Stout’s request is to demolish one of two buildings at 317 E. Liberty St. and build a new one that will provide temporary housing with the current address at 0. Depot St. Stout plans to replace the historic RB Miller Building to demolish but retain the facade, awnings and wooden decking that overlooks the Salisbury Depot railway line.

• The council approved a $15,000 amendment to the 2021-22 budget to provide a donation for the demolition of derelict buildings in the West End.

• The council granted a derogation from section 22-73(a) of the city code for a third driveway connection with less than 25 feet of curb curb between the driveway entrances for 511 Riviera Drive.

• Members authorized city manager Lane Bailey to execute a city council agreement for a 30% stake in the construction of pedestrian facilities along Julian Road as part of Project U-5738, a widening project recommended by the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization.

• Council passed a resolution to transfer Market Station Drive, located between Innes Street and Bendix Drive, from the state’s minor road network to the Salisbury city road network.

• The Council approved a occupancy permit until 31 January 2022 for the use of two parking spaces next to 115 East Innes Street for interior renovations.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.