MINER - An upgrade in the city employees' LAGERS retirement plan from L3 to L6 was approved by the Board of Aldermen during its regular monthly session Tuesday night.
"And I will not veto it," said Mayor Frank Tatum, who had voiced his opposition to the change before the vote.
"I'm certainly not against a better retirement for anyone," said Tatum. "I'm not against these employees."
He said it was just his opinion after reviewing the city's finances that Miner can't afford the upgrade as it is "just barely breaking even - or not."
Janet Tuttle, city clerk, said the change in the LAGER plan includes an increase of a half percent but she could not pin down exactly how much more the change would cost as the amount "is based on payroll and payroll changes each month."
A member of the audience suggested that if the city was so short on money, Tatum could donate the $450 paid to the mayor each year if he is elected.
"Why don't you come and work for me for free?" Tatum replied.
Following other routine business, the board voted to have Tatum discontinue the service of three cell phones under the city's name and for Tatum to be responsible for paying all their outstanding bills as the contract for the cell phones was renewed without the board's approval.
"The mayor can not obligate the city's money for any reason," said Donna Thomas, alderperson, "without approval of the council."
Thomas said cell phones had been taken away from city employees in June as they were being used for personal business. She said the bill she held showed 88 personal phone calls were made by Tatum.
Tatum countered that he pays $10 each month for the phone and buys additional minutes for personal use.
Several spectators voiced their opinion that his personal use of the cell phone constituted misappropriations of what Tatum had told them earlier were limited city funds.
In other Miner city business:
* The board approved an ordinance to penalize people dialing 911 for non-emergencies.
Officials said misusing 911 can tie up the dispatchers and endanger someone in a real emergency.
If found guilty of 911 misuse, an offender can be sentenced to up to 15 days in jail and up to $50 for the first offense, with the maximum fine going up to $100 for subsequent offenses.
* The board agreed to alternate between Burger King and McDonald's for providing prisoner meals.
"It's only fair to spread the wealth," said Mitch Thompson, alderman. "I don't see how we can play favorites."
The bill for fast food in February from Burger King was $298.73, according to city officials.
The department will finish up March with Burger King, start using McDonald's April 1, and then will continue to alternate monthly, according to Tuttle.
* Tatum recommended Betty Barnes fill the city's unexpired term on the Tourism Advisory Board, but the board decided to put off all appointments until the next meeting.
"It's too close to the election," said Tom Brock, alderman.
Tatum said he thought it important for the city to have a representative at the next meeting "to keep up to date" and agreed to attend it on the city's behalf.
* An agreement with Ameren UE to keep their streetlights another 10 years in exchange for a discount was approved.
* The board asked Elizabeth Moore to wait until after the election to discuss a reserve police officer program for Miner.