Retirement age for Odessa firefighters set to increase

Retirement age for Odessa firefighters set to increase
(Source: KWES)

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Odessa Fire and Rescue officials said they've been making tweaks to the pension plans for their firefighters for last year and one of the major changes is the retirement age increasing from 50 to 55 years old.

Pat Land, Battalion Chief said, "We're living longer so we need to work a little longer."

Beginning next year, changes to the pension funds for the Odessa Fire Department will go into effect. The new plans voted on by the firefighters will see some reduced benefits along with more money taken out of their pay checks as the department tries to follow guidelines set by the state.

Ben Marts, an engineer with the Odessa Fire and Rescue Department said, "They made some very difficult but wise choices to help us avoid some of the missteps and headlines that some of the other pension funds in Texas have been going through over the past few years."

At Tuesday night's Odessa City Council meeting, council members agreed to help chip in by deciding to raise the city's contribution to the firefighter's pension fund, but it's the city's fire fighters who will be doing the heavy lifting for a few extra years.

"As firefighters it's a very physical job so once you get to 55 it could be a very grueling job," said Marts.

"In years past we're better protected so we are living longer. Our life expectancy is longer," said Land.

Along with the retirement age increasing, the firefighters time of service will increase as well, going from 20 to 25 years. The changes are expected to go into effect on January 1st 20-17.

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