Webb City Council settles on plan to improve employee retirement

Retirement, as well as salary and health insurance, seen a benefit to retain good employees – which are in demand now

The Webb City Council is in the process of chosing a plan under the Missouri LAGERS retirement system that will provide a better benefit for those retiring from the city.

City Administrator Carl Francis said he was reporting back to the council after being asked to find a plan that would keep the annual increase in the city’s contribution in the $200,000 range.

The proposed plan will cost the city $193,000 more during the first year. 

Francis said better plans with the same contribution by the city would require employees to contribute part of their salary. He noted that Webb City employees have never contributed to their retirement plan.

Before the plan is approved, there will be a 45-day public comment period. 

A council bill will be on the Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 agendas, which will allow the new plan to take effect at the start of the 2022 fiscal year on Nov. 1.

The improved retirement plan led to a discussion of other methods to improve employee retention, including salaries and other benefits.

“We want the longterm employee,” said Mayor Lynn Ragsdale.

Francis and Police Chief Don Melton praised the council for approving cost-of-living and merit salary increases each year (except after the economic crisis of 2008).

The removal of salary caps has also helped retain experienced employees, said Melton. 

However, he said Webb City is no longer a leader in police salaries.

He said his department has only had one of its officers join the Joplin Police Department, while and another officer choose a different line of work but still wants to continue as a reserve officer.

Burnout and a nationwide unwillingness to work in law enforcement were cited as reasons why it’s difficult to keep shifts staffed.

“Basically, every department is seeking employees,” and openings are drawing fewer applicants, said Francis.

A motion was passed to allow Melton to set a standard rate of pay for reserve officers when he needs to schedule them to cover patrol shifts.

He reported that five former police officers have remained with the department as reserve officers – cover patrol shifts voluntarily without pay.

“We would like to provide more of an incentive,” said Melton.

It’s the time of year for the city to issue tax liens on properties, mostly to reimburse mowing costs. There are 18 properties on a council bill that was accepted on first reading. 

The council also passed a motion to put seven salvage vehicles, two vehicle lifts and a dump bed out for bids.

Here’s the list of items for sale:

  • 2001 Dodge ½ ton pickup
  • (2) Nussbaum Vehicle Lifts
  • (1) Single Axle Dump Bed
  • 1994 Chevy S-10 pickup
  • 1998 Dodge ½ ton pickup
  • 1982 Ford Bucket Truck
  • 2002 Dodge Dakota
  • 2001 Dodge ¾ ton pickup
  • 1990 Ford F700 Truck
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