PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) - A bankruptcy court judge has given the City of Prichard two moremonths to figure out how they will pay retired city workers.Prichard pensioners have gone six months without a pensioncheck.
Prichard is operating under the protection of Title IXBankruptcy, and for many people, that means no promised pensionpayments.
After six months with no pay, Prichard pensioners put theirfaith into the courts. They hoped a judge would force the city topay some, if not all, of the pension money it owes. However, thebankruptcy court judge said the city is not obligated to pay theretired workers just yet. The judge gave the city two more monthsto restructure the budget and present it to the courts.
The city got more time, but unfortunately reality has alreadyset in for Bobby Holifield and his family.
"You can't begin to know the stress of this. My daughter is incollege right now, my son just graduated from high school, hewanted to go to college. My daughter had to miss last semester incollege and she will have to miss this semester. I can't afford topay it. My son wants to go to technical school; I can't afford topay for it. It makes me feel like a failure more than anything,when I did my part. I worked 32 years to get my pension. They oweit to me, it's not something I'm asking them to give me," Holifieldsaid.
Prichard's attorney Scott Williams said the city is workingdiligently to fix the budget and figure out how it will pay thebills.
"We still have a lot of work to do. The city is busy working ona lot of the budgeting issues about what is realistic, and whatthey can do on a going forth basis," Williams said.
There are roughly 150 pensioners who are going without theirpayments. At this point, Robert Maybry and his wife want whateverthe city can give.
"I would just like for them to be fair with us, if you can do,something do it! I know finances are short and revenue is down, butthat is really not our problem. Finances are bad all over thecountry, not just here in Mobile," Maybry explained.
Maybry said the city is hiding behind Title IX and he wantselected officials to start giving answers.
"I've been reading up on this Chapter IX. That thing has gotteeth worst than a white shark in the Gulf when it comes toprotecting the city. Once they get under that, we are at theirdiscretion. They won't tell you nothing. They won't talk to you,"he added.
Prichard Mayor Ronald Davis and other city officials declined tocomment on the pension issue, leaving their attorney to answer tothe press.
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