Current Dalton city workers and retirees will keep their retirement health benefits under a plan adopted by the City Council Monday.

But new employees hired after Sept. 1 will not have those benefits under a plan approved by the council 4-0.

That plan also calls on the city to set aside a trust fund dedicated to paying for the benefits it has promised current employees and retirees.

“In 2012, (this change) will reduce our ARC, our annual required contribution, by a half million dollars, and it will decrease the present value of future benefits by $11.6 million,” said city chief financial officer Cindy Jackson.

Jackson said if the City Council had done nothing that liability would be $28. 9 million. Instead, it will be $17.3 million.

Over 20 years, she says, the changes made by the City Council Monday will reduce the city’s liability by almost $30 million.

Council members also voted 4-0 to:

• Renew a yearly contract with the North Georgia Regional Development Center to provide planning and development services at $65 an hour for a planner and $33 an hour for a planning technician.

• Approve four new license applications for the package sale of alcoholic beverages.

• Close and abandon the east end of Sassafras Street.

• Approve a $15,000 grant from the state Department of Community Affairs for the Creative Arts Guild.

• Approve a request from Mavity Transport and Storage to rezone .85 of an acre at 909 Trammel Street to light industrial from high-density residential.

• Approve a request from Manual Meza to rezone .21 of an acre at 2 S. Dixie Highway to C-1A commercial from R-2 residential.

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