BEVERLY — The surviving spouses of a limited number of deceased city employees will get a boost in their monthly allowance.
The City Council voted 9-0 Monday to increase the spouses' minimum monthly allowance from $250 to $500. The option to increase the allowance was made available to communities through the state's pension reform law that was passed last year.
There are currently eight surviving spouses in the Beverly retirement system who qualify for the allowance. The increase will cost the city about $12,500 per year, according to the Beverly Retirement Board, which voted 5-0 in favor of the hike.
The only people who qualify are the spouses of employees who died while having at least two years of service but less than the 10 years' service time required to be vested in the pension system.
"Given the relatively rarity, we thought it was the right thing to do," Director of Finance John Dunn, who is also a member of the Retirement Board, told city councilors.
Dunn said the $250 allowance has stayed the same since it was instituted in 1967. Councilor Scott Houseman said the fact was "particularly compelling to me."
Councilor Don Martin expressed concern about the increase but ultimately voted in favor.
"It seems like a small amount of money, but over the years it will add up," Martin said.
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or by email at email@example.com.