Frankford residents urge Town to pursue other options

At the last Frankford Town Council meeting, residents gathered to voice their disapproval for the proposed town pension plan — many of them attempting to do so within the three-minute window allotted for each resident to speak to the council at the beginning of the meeting.

That time limit was lifted for the budget meeting held at Town Hall last Monday, June 23, and the meeting saw a large turnout, with citizens excited to voice their opinions.

The main subject discussed was the proposed pension plan, with one resident with experience in the financial industry making a case for a different option.

The proposed plan is the State-defined benefit plan, which the resident claimed was “chronically underfunded,” citing cities including Detroit, Mich., and counties including Orange County, Calif., as currently going bankrupt because of their plans. Instead, the resident suggested a defined benefit plan.

“I understand the point of a pension plan. I don’t think there’s anybody in this town that wouldn’t go along with a pension plan for every employee in this town,” he asserted. “The type of plan you institute is a totally different matter — how much we’re gonna be on the hook for indefinitely.”

He said 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use a defined contribution plan because it rewards employees for loyalty, as they cannot take the money with them if they decide to leave for another job.

Employees leaving for other jobs was one of Police Chief William Dudley’s main concerns regarding budgeting for the pension plan.

“If we don’t stay competitive with other departments, we’re not going to be able to keep qualified [officers],” said Dudley. “All this is is simply a proposed budget. I don’t know for a fact that the Town is even going to consider buying into the pension plan for three years back. All I did was put that in my line-item budget, because, should they decide to do it, at least we have a line available for it.”

While the townsfolk and the council seem to be on the same page regarding the importance of a pension plan, is seems as if the two sides still disagree on which plan should be pursued. No plan has been approved at this point.

The next regular town council meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 7, at 7 p.m.