Hiring freeze, layoffs considered to deal with Birmingham retiree insurance woes

The Birmingham City Council has learned of financial options that could help with the funding of retiree health insurance, ABC 33/40 has learned.

In a letter dated August 13, Human Resources Director Peggy Polk gave a few ways to make up for the $5 million budget shortfall other than hiking insurance premiums.

Polk suggests the following:

Keep the new plans in place (the pre-65 retiree rates will more than double in September). Under new plans, retirees have only single coverage and family coverage plan options..

Allow retirees to continue on current plans but with an increase of 30 percent across the board (same increase that active employees will pay). Under these plans, pre-65 retirees can keep the premier and value plans as well as employee plus one tier plans.

Institute a hiring freeze on all city-funded vacant positions

Institute a city-wide reduction in force

Click the image below to enlarge.

Polk says the three largest departments that could see positions lost under one of the options include Fire, Police and Public Works.

The Council has planned a second work session Thursday with the Health and Benefits Board to go over what has caused the increase as well as other options for making up a deficit.

Stay with ABC 33/40 for more information.