Firefighters get retirement benefit increase, $50,000 Blandin grants approved by city council

The Worthington City Council approved a two percent increase in retirement benefits for voluntary firefighters meeting eligibility requirements during a brief Worthington City Council meeting on Monday.

Each eligible firefighter receives the benefit level in effect at the time of their retirement from active service. The benefit level has been adjusted from time to time to reflect inflation and to remain attractive in recruiting new volunteers. The benefit had been $2,979 per year of active service, with the last adjustment occurring in January 2021. The new two percent adjustment is effective Jan. 1, 2023, representative of an annual adjustment of one percent. The adjusted retirement benefit will be $3,039.00; this increase was included in the pre-certified budget approved by the council during the Sept. 12 meeting.

The council also accepted a Blandin Foundation Rural Leadership Boost Grant in the amount of $50,000. The city’s Cross-Cultural Advisory Committee (CCAC) applied for the grant, which has a purpose "to support local vision and spur dreamers and doers who move rural places forward.”

The CCAC's grant application proposed to create a pipeline of community members to city roles and elected positions that are more representative of Worthington's diverse population. The CCAC desires to decrease financial barriers for community members interested in pursuing careers in translation and interpretation, communications and community engagement by offering scholarships.

The $50,000 budget includes: $9,600 for paying CCAC members $100 for attendance at monthly meetings for a period of up to one year; $36,000 for two intern positions in flexible part-time positions; and $4,400 for educational opportunities including interpretation/translation certificates, community engagement and communication.

Also Monday, the council -- acting in the capacity of the Worthington Economic Development Authority – approved two façade improvement matching grant program applications.

Jesus Ordaz submitted an application on behalf of Ramiro Martinez, who owns the building located at 421 10th St. that contains New Gen Studio and New Gen Smoke Shop. Work includes repairs to the front of the building, windows. door, side lights, transom and aluminum storefront. The applicant received the maximum eligible award of $3,988.64.

Heather and Jesse Flynn submitted an application for work to be done on their building at 914/912 Third Ave. that houses Worthington Footwear & Repair and Flynn Law Offices. Work includes new windows, door, ceiling above the entryway, lighting and tuckpointing. The applicant received the maximum eligible award of $8,770.02.

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