Crestview's latest proposed budget to include millage increase

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin

Firefighters attend the Crestview City Council's Thursday evening budget workshop, during which their union president presented a proposal to force upper management into early retirement.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 05:34 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Three of five City Council members have reluctantly nodded to raising ad valorem taxes while the firefighters union presented a proposal to force senior management members into early retirement.

City Clerk Betsy Roy left Thursday’s budget workshop — which Fire Chief Joe Traylor called "a spirited debate” — with somewhat of a council consensus to finalize a budget based on a .25 percent millage increase.

Most of the three-and-a-half-hour meeting focused on the Crestview Fire Fighters Association’s proposal to force Traylor, Deputy Chief Cedric Peterson and Battalion Chief John Rydell into retirement.

Traylor confirmed that the three firefighters are eligible to retire, and that at least three more will be eligible for retirement during the next fiscal year, but said that it should be up to the firefighter to decide if it is time he should retire.

"The offer of early retirement is probably an appropriate thing to do," Traylor said. "If people accept it, then they accept it."

Capt. Jim Poirrier, the firefighters union’s president, said forcing the three department leaders into early retirement would be preferable to laying off a junior firefighter, who would receive no pay.

"If you can send a person home without a paycheck, you can send someone home with a retirement check for the rest of his life,” he said.

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