PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) - Retired workers in Prichard have gone six months without gettinga single pension check.
The City of Prichard, which filed for bankruptcy last year, issix months behind in pension payments. On March 9, there will be astatus hearing in bankruptcy court and many residents have a lotriding on that hearing.
For the last six months, former Prichard firefighter BillyWilliamson has had difficulty affording life's basic necessities.That's because the city of Prichard owes him and nearly 150 otherretirees around $900,000.
"You try going without a paycheck, put yourself in my position,"said the 75-year-old Korean War vet. "Paying bills, buyinggroceries, anything, insurance. I'm too old to go back to work, gotan artificial hip."
Nettie Banks is in the same situation. She worked 25 years as acity dispatcher.
"We can't meet the mortgage, bills, and things get behind. It'sreally hard and really stressful," said Banks, who retired inOctober 2006.
City councilman Troy Ephrian, the chair of the pension board,said the city wants to help, but has it's arms tied. Now residentsare having property repossessed.
"There are a lot of people that are affected by this, and by usnot being able to make payments to them," said Ephrian. "It'sdisheartening to be in this situation, it really is."
Residents are trying to stay optimistic about Tuesday'shearing.
"I'm hoping that we're going to be getting a check and they'remaking an arrangement for future payments," said Banks.
Ephrian explained what's at stake at the hearing.
"In a nutshell, they're wanting to force the hand of the judge,say, 'Look, while you're determining this, can we still get paid?'"said Ephrian.
It would be the first time in six months.
Pensioners say the last pension check received was September 3,2009. The city has filed for bankruptcy two times in 10 years.
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