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CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Town Council voted at their Sept. 8 meeting to opt into the West Virginia Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).

Council members made the move primarily in response to the increasing turnover rate at the town’s police department, in which officers leave to pursue departments with better benefit packages. According to town account Jeff Vallet, the town currently has a limited pension plan.

PERS, which will get the town on the state system through the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board, will cost the town approximately $40,000 per year, with the town contributing 10% of gross pay and employees contributing 6%. Once employees opt in to the plan, there is no opting out.

Vallet said the town is unable to join the state municipal police retirement plan because they only accept plans that are operating. He said he hopes PERS can provide a greater retainability for officers. Police chief Alan Browning spoke in favor of it, saying that any plan is “better than nothing.”

Vallet said payments can likely begin in October, which will be reimbursed through CARES Act funding. Vallet also noted if the town becomes a part of the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Program, that extra money can also be used to make the PERS payments.

“It’s a big commitment, $40,000 a year for a town this size, but I think it’s something that we’ve been talking about and throwing around for a long time, and I think we see the need because we have the turnover that’s tremendous for our police,” said town recorder Terilyn Wilson.

For more information about PERS, visit www.wvretirement.com/PERS.html.

In other news from the meeting, council members:

  • Voted to approve a drawdown for a region II sewer project in the amount of $29,529.
  • Voted to update town building codes to current standard.
  • Voted to appoint George Cook to the town water board.

HD Media news reporter Dylan Vidovich can be contacted via email at dvidovich@HDMediaLLC.com.

HD Media news reporter Dylan Vidovich can be contacted via email at dvidovich@HDMediaLLC.com.