In the ongoing discussion about the proposed de-annexation of Ward 4, some people not yet heard from are those retired police officers, firefighters and widows who live off pensions from the Anniston Police and Fire Retirement Fund.
I am one of those. Many of us would not be allowed to vote if there were a referendum because we don't live inside the city limits of Anniston, even though we still support the city that we protected (in my case 30 years) by shopping and doing business there. We seem to be the pawns in this "chess game" and are helpless in its outcome.
To set the record straight, it is true that the way the law that created our pension fund was written put the fund in deep trouble. Over the years, some "band-aids" were applied to try to help, but had no lasting effect. However, in 2012, the current law was passed, which was a permanent fix, not a band-aid.
This fix was the result of people working together with compromise and sacrifice to save the fund and take care of present and future retirees. These sacrifices included active personnel paying more into the fund, while taking a smaller pension than before. The city also stepped up to the plate with its part of it.
I understand the concern about property values, but does that justify jeopardizing the livelihood of those retired police officers, firefighters and widows? Many don't understand that we don't even qualify for full Social Security because we paid into a private pension fund.
Rather than bailing out on a city with such a proud and rich history, why don't we all work together to build her back up? If the school system is the problem, what can we as a community do to help?
Those of us living on one of these pensions went to work in public safety and stayed in Anniston, certainly not for the money, but because it was our calling and we knew if we stuck it out and followed the rules that we would have a retirement. Now those retirements seem to be threatened by a few.
Let's all work together to solve our problems.
David Boyd of Weaver is a retired assistant chief of the Anniston Fire Department.