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4/23/2013 1:57:00 PM
MRFD eliminates volunteer pension plan; CVFD eyes dispatch services
CVFD Chief Clayton Young
CVFD Chief Clayton Young

Bill Helm

CAMP VERDE - The Montezuma Rimrock Fire District closed out its volunteer pension plan at its monthly meeting on April 18.

With a public safety pension available through the State of Arizona, "the cost of carrying the plan was exorbitant," Fire Chief Terry Keller said. "There are very few participants who were getting the benefit of the pension. So the pension board that arranged it decided to close it out."

MRFD has dispersed more than $90,000 in pension money remaining in pension reserve to its 20 volunteers, with payouts ranging from $11 to approximately $23,000, Keller said.

At its April 18 Camp Verde Fire District regular session, Chief Clayton Young and board members agreed to continue using Sedona Fire District's Regional Communications Center for dispatch service.

According to Young, Cottonwood Fire District has plans to build a new dispatch center but has not set a groundbreaking date. Until that time, Young said, "we will stay with Sedona until we see what Cottonwood builds.

Cottonwood has outgrown their dispatch center, Young said.

"My goal is trying to convince the board that all agencies need to be using the same dispatch service," Young said. "Most everybody wants to be at the same place."

The board also discussed the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget, specifically medical insurance and the Health Savings Account available to CVFD firefighters. After the insured has met the individual or family deductible, the insurance pays benefits at 100 percent cost. The board discussed an option to decrease the post-deductible insurance benefit to 50 percent. Young asked the board "is it wrong to be better for your employees? I'm going to tell you upfront, it's going to kill morale."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013
Article comment by: Carlos Pisano

CVFD's Board wants to cut their HSA benefits by 50%?!!
In this season of fire service austerity, it is already difficult for fire fighters to meet ever-increasing demands for services. Vocal and statutory disdain from state 'leaders' already equals less tax money to the fire districts. Couple that with severe changes in PSPRS, and one can readily see the existing atmosphere as ripe for declining morale.
I believe it would be not only a mistake for morale to lower HSA benefits by 50%, but a moral mistake as well.

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