Bill would let Atlantic City end lifeguard pension system
New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a bill that would no longer require Atlantic City and other local governments to have a pension system for retired lifeguards.
The bill sponsored by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, and Sen. Kevin O'Toole, a Republican, would allow communities with lifeguard pension systems to end enrollment or terminate the fund. If the fund is eliminated, retired lifeguards wouldn't forfeit payments they've already received, The Press of Atlantic City reported.
Atlantic City is one of nine area coastal communities required by a 1920s state law to have the pension system. Workers older than 45 are eligible for a pension worth half their salary after 20 years of service.
The cash-strapped resort city pays more than $1 million to its retired lifeguards each year, with about 90 former guards collecting pensions ranging from $850 to as much as $61,000.
The city has been struggling financially since four of its 12 casinos closed in 2014 and the city's tax base shrank in recent years.
Republican Mayor Don Guardian thanked Sweeney for the bill Friday, saying it would be used as "one more tool" to help bring down costs in Atlantic City.
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