County officials' pension is tightened Longer service required to qualify

June 23, 1993|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County Council has changed its financially troubled pension fund for appointed and elected officials by requiring longer service but increasing the rewards.

Several council members said their unanimous vote Monday was an attempt to correct a 4-year-old mistake.

The previous council lowered to 50 the age at which an employee can qualify for a pension. The council also increased the benefits paid by the plan. The bill that passed Monday allows retirement with pension at 55, but only if an official has 30 years of service. It allows exceptions for those older than 60.

Also, the measure sponsored by Councilwoman Maureen Lamb rewards those with longer service by changing the benefit percentage. The previous formula was 2 1/2 percent per year of service (based on the person's highest annual salary) for the first 20 years, and 2 percent thereafter. The new law revises that to 2 percent for the first 10 years and 2 1/2 percent after.

In other action, a member of the state critical area commission told the council that changes in the county's critical areas law satisfy concerns the commission raised about projects that were "grandfathered," or exempt from the regulations.

"We are in favor and are favorably impressed with what has been put together by the Anne Arundel County staff," said Dr. Sarah J. Taylor, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. The commission's concerns about the county's critical areas law "numbered 22 a year ago and now are about to zero."

The new law mandates a 50-foot buffer to nontidal wetlands -- twice the state requirement. It also bans construction within 100 feet of the water on lots that were approved before Dec. 1, 1985, and are exempt from most critical areas regulations unless a variance is granted.

County officials said they believe they have addressed objections the state raised to provisions in the county law that exempted 24 subdivisions on the Broadneck peninsula that were on a waiting list for sewer connection, and that allowed lots approved before 1985 to abide by the law "insofar as possible."

"After months of negotiation and compromise, we now have legislation before you which our association and many other groups in the county support," said James R. Martin Jr., president of the Severn River Association.

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