[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wheatfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this article is to create a Volunteer Firefighter Length of Service Plan to provide retirement benefits to volunteer firefighters in the Town of Wheatfield who meet certain minimum service requirements.
The Town of Wheatfield shall conduct a mandatory referendum of the eligible voters of the Town of Wheatfield to determine whether the Town shall establish a service award plan as provided in § 216 of the General Municipal Law.
The type of service award plan shall be a Defined Contribution Service Award Plan as described in § 218 of the General Municipal Law.
The estimated annual cost of the service award plan shall be $142,780 including a one-time payment of $41,280 for past-service-buy-back cost for up to five years of the service award plan and an annual plan administration fee of $1,500, based upon the existing number of volunteer firefighters eligible to participate in the service award plan.
The estimated annual cost per participant will not be more than $700 per participant for current years and an average of $1,720 per participant for 24 participants for past-service-buy-back costs.
The average defined contribution award to be paid to eligible volunteer firefighters will be a lump sum equal to annual amounts contributed on behalf of the eligible volunteer firefighter plus accumulated investment earnings with the accounts held by the Plan Administrator and as may be authorized or required by law, payment to commence when the eligible volunteer firefighter reached the age of 62 years, if he or she so elects, or pursuant to law; but not sooner than one year after the adoption of the plan. Nothing contained herein shall be construed so as to prohibit volunteer firefighters from earning service award credits after the firefighter reaches 62 years of age. Payment of the award shall be in a form approved by the Plan Administrator as authorized and/or required pursuant to law. All selected benefit payments shall be actuarially equivalent to said lump sum.
The Service Award Plan will provide for the crediting of years of active firefighting service for periods prior to the establishment of such plan to a maximum of five years per participant, or for firefighters who did not receive credit because they were more than 62 years of age but would have otherwise qualified, up to a maximum of five years per participant.
In the event an active volunteer firefighter becomes disabled and such disability prevents the active firefighter from pursuing such volunteer's normal occupation and if the disability is total and permanent as certified by the Workmen's Compensation Board or other authority approved by the district, the volunteer firefighter will be entitled to receive the credited contribution and investment earning thereon described in this section that are credited to his account regardless of age or length of service.
In order to qualify for a "year of fire-fighting service," the firefighter must satisfy the minimum requirements of participation of earning 50 points in such year, such points to be awarded pursuant to § 217(c) of the General Municipal Law.
A special election upon proposition of the qualified voters of the Town of Wheatfield, County of Niagara, and State of New York, shall be held at the Wheatfield Senior Community Center, 2800 Church Road, Wheatfield, New York on December 9, 2008, between the hours of 12:00 noon and 9:00 p.m.
Editor's Note: The proposition was approved at referendum 12-9-2008.
The vote upon the proposition to be submitted to the qualified voters shall be by voting machine.
The Town Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to give notice of said election by causing a notice hereof to be published pursuant to law in the officially designated newspapers of the Town at least 10 days prior to the date of the special election.
This article shall become effective upon its approval by referendum and upon all appropriate filings.