By MARY RAINWATER
Those retired from the employ of Anderson County will seen a rise in their benefits this January, as county commissioners approved an increase in the 2013 Texas County and District Retirement System (TCDRS) plan provisions on Monday.
Changes to the plan include an increased $180 match by the county — upped $20 from current payments of $160 — into the state retirement system, as well as a 60 percent Consumer Price Index (CPI) Cost of Living Allotment (COLA) increase.
“The CPI COLA increase brings retired county employees’ benefits up to 60 percent of the CPI,” County Auditor Karin Smith explained to retirees in attendance Monday, “with those retired the longest receiving the largest percentage.”
The changes are effective in 2013, with retirees receiving their increased benefit checks in January.
Also during Monday’s meeting, the court awarded bids for a new county telephone system and network switches at a total initial cost of $153,000 from Century Link.
The telephone system bid was awarded to ShoreTel through Century Link at a cost of $89,000 plus $3,000 annually for maintenance.
The bid for new switches, required for the installation of a new system, totaled $67,000 plus $8,000 annually for maintenance. According to Smith, Century Link offered the county $11,000 in credits, reducing that bid to $64,600.
“With this new system, we are looking at savings of about $31,000 a year over five years, which will pay for the system,” Smith said, adding that initial funds will come from the county Capital Projects fund.
In a related action, commissioners also approved a new PRI (Primary Rate Interface, or outgoing phone line) agreement for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and renewal PRI agreement for Anderson County — both with payments of $525 a month — with Century Link.
Also on Monday, the court:
• APPROVED a $45,000 settlement from the estate of Debbie Sexton (former owner of BJ’s Bail Bonds) in a suit filed by the county for unpaid bonds.
• RECOGNIZED Commissioner Kenneth Dickson, Precinct 3 County Commissioner for his certification in Commissioners Court, Advanced Curriculum from V.G. Young Institute of County Government Continuing Education Department and Texas Association of Counties.
In a related action, the court witnessed the presentation of $500 to the Anderson County Historical Commission from the East Texas Historical Society.
• APPROVED renewal of the County Choice Silver (retiree health program) for 2013.
• APPROVED obtaining 10 purchasing cards from the Texas Purchase and Travel Card Program.
• APPROVED certification of Asset Forfeiture report for District Attorney.
• APPROVED minutes from previous meetings, reports from county officials, budget amendments and bills.
• TABLED the purchase of a chemical based fire suppression system for the County IT and telephone equipment (as well as the radio room) until more bids could be obtained.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com