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Cliff Williams / The Outlook The Alexander City City Council tabled a resolution to offer buyouts to certain city employees in August but passed an offer at Tuesday's meeting.

At least 10 City of Alexander City employees are expected to take advantage of an early retirement buyout with the city receiving $1.5 million in savings over the next five years.

The buyout was offered to the council six weeks ago but it tabled the matter to get more information. City human resources director Kathy Railey said between 22 and 25 employees would be eligible.

“I polled all eligible employees,” Railey told the council. “We are down to 10 who are highly interested.”

To be eligible for the buyout, employees would have to be 60 or older and worked for the city for at least 25 years. Employees would get to choose between the city paying for 100% of the health insurance for the employee and 50% for those in the employee’s family or a $15,000 cash buyout plus an additional $250 per year for each year of service beyond 25 years.

Railey said of the 10 employees most likely to take advantage of the plan, there would be three positions that wouldn’t have to be backfilled. The other openings would be hired at a lower pay rate allowing upward mobility for some and creating $1.5 million in savings over the next five years.

“It is voluntary,” Railey said. “It helps right-size our organization and gives us cost savings without layoffs.”

Councilmembers noted some employees are a year from being old enough and asked about offering the program again next year. Railey said this is a one-time program but city staff could propose it again.

Councilmember Bobby Tapley and the rest of the council thank city staff for the work that went into the one-time retirement buyout plan.

“I think this is a good plan, so we don’t have to layoff people,” Tapley said. “When trying to save money you try to help people get to retirement that want to.

A public hearing was held and closed on rezoning parcels of property for the new grocer anchored development at the corner of U.S. Highway 280 and Highway 63 without anyone speaking. No one signed up to speak for or against the change to make all the parcels the same zoning. The council voted to change the zoning for all the parcels to B-2. Some parcels were I-2, not allowing the development. Other parcels were already B-2.

The council passed a resolution opposing portions of the Alabama Department of Transportation proposed projects on U.S. Highway 280. While supportive of most changes, the city and council would like to see a traffic light at in front of the Winn Dixie Development and at the intersection of Coley Creek Road and U.S. Highway 280.

“These are what staff has decided is safer and in the best interest of the city,” Mayor Woody Baird said. “Right now we had the interest of a large hotel at Coley Creek but pulled out when (ALDOT) said it wasn’t going to allow the intersection to be open.”

Other councilmembers noted the need for the traffic lights because of the number of accidents including fatalities.

Changes will be coming to ordinances to help prevent grease from entering the city’s sewer system. The council approved an ordinance that requires grease traps at all new multifamily developments. It also doesn’t allow disposals in multifamily dwellings. The ordinance would force owners of multifamily dwellings to add grease traps to current properties when doing a substantial amount of work.

In other action the Alexander City City Council:

• Approved minutes of the Aug. 12 special called meeting, the Aug. 12 work session and the Aug. 16 meeting

• Approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute a home energy supplier agreement with Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

• Approved a resolution awarding annual bids for chemicals for Adams Water Treatment Plant and Sugar Creek Waste Treatment Plant

• Approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute a memorandum of agreement with the Chambers-Tallapoosa-Coosa Community Action Committee

• Approved a resolution allowing members of the city council and city staff to attend the Alabama League of Municipalities Economic Development Academy

The next meeting of the Alexander City City Council is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.

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