LIMA — Lima City Council gave the chief of staff permission Monday to negotiate a voluntary retirement incentive program. Under the proposal, an eligible employee could receive up to $20,000 in addition to the normal employee benefits paid upon retirement. Details are in the process of being discussed with the city’s unions.
The VRIP program is aimed at those city employees who would retire prior to March 20, 2021.
The city is facing significant decreases in tax revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s possible layoffs could happen. The VRIP program would help lessen the number of layoffs.
Councilors Jamie Dixon and Derry Glenn both expressed concerns that some employees could abuse the process through a retire-rehire move. Despite their objections, all members did vote for the plan on first reading.
Lima council also unanimously approved the tax budget for the 2021 fiscal year.
The city expects to bring in about $31 million but must deal with expenditures estimated at $35.6 million.
In other business, city council authorized the city auditor to pay Ben’s Construction for the emergency demolition of the former Roxy Food & Spirits, at 122 N. Elizabeth St.
The building caught fire on June 23. Jeff England is charged in connection with setting the fire.
City council approved payments of not more than $75,000 to Ben’s Construction to tear down the building, clear the debris, fill in the basement and plant grass on the property.
Council also received a written statement from Curtis Shannon Jr., who organized a couple of peaceful rallies in Lima to protest police brutality in light of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A series of suggestions were made by Shannon including prohibiting chokehold restraints. He also called for officers to leave their guns in their cruisers until they can assess the situation — only approaching a suspect with preventive equipment such as a taser or mace. Shannon would also like to see officers intervene when witnessing excessive use of force by another officer. He’s also called for increased training for officers including courses in de-escalation.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.