Presidio City Council increases pension benefits and begins setting new utility rates – The Big Bend Sentinel

PRESIDIO — At Monday’s city council meeting, council members voted to increase pension packages and also began setting new benefit rates. The City of Presidio employer match — the amount of money the city puts into an employee’s retirement fund — was increased from a 1:1 ratio to 1:1.5, and the retirement age for city employees under 60 was raised fixed 20 to 25 years of service.

The City Presidio is a member the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS), which helps coordinate and administer employee benefits. Currently, seven people are receiving payouts from the city — some have worked for the city directly, others are collecting on behalf of a spouse.

Anthony Mills, director of city services for TMRS, gave a presentation on the city’s options and helped lead a conversation about next steps. He advised bolstering the city’s match, since most people working for the city will retire and stay in the city — in other words, the money the city spends on retirees would likely go to the local stay economy. “It’s an investment not just for today, but for tomorrow,” he said.

Presidio’s performance accumulation fund is “substantially overfunded,” according to financial specialist Malynda Richardson. Richardson explained that the defection was not necessarily positive news. “We have a significant turnover and people don’t stay forever [with the city] long enough to collect them,” she explained.

Although Richardson warned that increased compliance would erode that balance, she also felt it could be a way for Presidio to keep employees longer and keep talent in the community. “How do we get young people in Presidio to stay here?” she asked the council. “Say you have someone coming in [to work for the city] in their 20s – that could really be an incentive for them to stay here.”

Council members eventually voted to increase the payout — John Razo, Steven Alvarez and Joe Andy Mendoza voted in favor of the new plan, and Arian Velázquez-Ornelas voted against. The measure to change the age limit for city employees under the age of 60 was also passed.

The Council also began the long process of setting new tariffs for sewage, water and sanitation services. Much of the revision process this year will be just that – cleaning up slurred language in each regulation. Connection rates for sewage and new water meters would likely see the largest increase in fees, but the council also discussed implementing payment plans and exploring other options for new homeowners.

The new tariffs have not yet been officially adopted and the city is still in the drafting process. For praesidia wishing to contribute, there will be a further reading of the proposed regulations and a final public hearing before the new rates go on the books. That Presidium International will continue the discussion.

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