Commissioners raise bus fares and retiree premiums - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Commissioners raise bus fares and retiree premiums

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June 6, 2006

Albany - Bus fares are going up in Albany. Commissioners tentatively voted to raise the base fare $0.25 to $1.00.

The elderly and disabled fare will go up to $0.50, as will the cost of a ride for children six to 12 years old. Kids under 5 ride free. A monthly unlimited pass went up to $14 to $36. But the elderly and disabled monthly pass is just $20. Commissioners also want students to get a monthly fare of $25.

"It seemed like a good thing to do to adopt a policy city-wide that we are going to promote education. We want are citizens to be literate and we want them to be as educated as they want to be," said Commissioner Bob Langstaff.

A new unlimited weekday pass will cost $30 and will help people who use the bus system to get to work. Commissioners are expected to officially pass the fare increase at their meeting June 20th.

In other commission news, City of Albany retirees will take another hit. Their health insurance premiums are going up again, for the 4th straight year.

City commissioners tentatively voted to increase premiums for retirees under 65 by 10%. Now these retirees and the city will equally share the costs of health insurance. Just three years ago, the city covered 75% of the retirees' cost and lost $1.6-million a year.

"We want to be able to provide services, including health care to retirees, but we want to increase any taxpayers burdens nor do we want to have to cut people to pay for that. So, we've asked the retirees to share in this a bit," said City Manager Alfred Lott.

Retirees over 65 years old will also see a 10% increase if commissioners approve the insurance changes at their June meeting.

Commissioners also want to require city employees be at least 55 years old to retire, no matter their length of service to the city. And if a retiree takes another job that offers health insurance, they are now dropped from the city's plan.  

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