The Omaha City Council approved a new contract for the fire department today. Council member Franklin Thompson was the only no vote, because he said the union could have done better.
"We had two main goals and that was significant pension and health care reform and we have achieved that it will save the city of Omaha and the taxpayers millions of dollars," Council member Jean Stothert said. "Current active firefighters will pay more for their health care to the tune of 680 thousand dollars a year. The current active firefighters will pay more into their pensions, a cumulative amount of around 800 thousand dollars a year. And they will work longer to receive maximum retirement benefits."
Beginning January 1, new hires will have to work until the age of 55 instead of 45 to retire.
One criticism the council addressed was the 8 percent return on investments that the pension board set. Council member Tom Mulligan is on that board and says it is achievable because the average rate of return since 1980 has been 9.4 percent.
"We review that on a quarterly basis and based upon the information and the advice that we get from our money managers they are very comfortable with an 8 percent rate of return," Mulligan said.