ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A judge is allowing the City of St. Louis to end its retirement plan for St. Louis firefighters to implement a less expensive plan.

The Firemen's Retirement System will be terminated and a new pension program called the Firefighters Retirement Plan will begin.

Maggie Crane, a spokesperson for Mayor Francis Slay, says firefighters who have been with the department for at least 20 years will not see a change in their pension.

Firefighters who have spent less than 20 years with the department must contribute nine percent to their retirement plan, and if they retire before age 55, they will have a reduced benefit. The changes are effective February 1, 2013.

The new plan also allows for firefighters who are too hurt to work to get a full disability pension, unless doctors find the firefighter fit to do another job. If the firefighter is fit enough to do another job, they will get a smaller pension.

Crane says the changes will save almost $5 million tax dollars in the first year, and almost $50 million over the next 30 years.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to the firefighters' union for a response, but our calls were not returned.