As cities continue to tighten their budget belts, one Middle Tennessee community is looking at other ways to save money.
For the city of Lebanon, saving may mean the end for some council members' benefits.
Rob Cesternino is half-way through his first term on the Lebanon City Council. He, like others, is covered under the city's health benefits, but it's a job perk he said should end when he leaves office.
"I believe when an elected official is done serving the citizens, the citizens should be done serving them," Cesternino said.
Currently, any council member who has served two terms, is at least 62 years old and no longer sits on the council can sign up for the city's benefits.
"You have to look at it from a business perspective, and as a businessman I have to cap my risk. I have to know what's the maximum exposure to my company, and how do I cap that exposure? And I think what we're doing right here is saying when you serve us, you get all the benefits. But when you roll off, you get a pat on the back," Cesternino said.
The city currently pays nearly $600 dollars a month for an individual's benefits and about $1,600 a month for a family.
No past council members are part the city's coverage plan, but Mayor Philip Craighead said the concern is on the future and keeping the city in the black.
"We're able to protect the revenues for the future of Lebanon, and it's really not an obligation I feel the city needs to give to these former councilmen," Craighead said.
Cesternino said he plans to introduce the new ordinance in January once the new council seated.
It would be a change, he adds, that would benefit taxpayers in the long run.
"I don't begrudge anyone that earned it, and if five years down the line someone takes it, if they were under that ordinance, they earned it. That's the way the policy exists. I have no problem with that. But I want to draw a line in the sand and say 'no more,'" Cesternino said.
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