City Council unanimously approved short-term contracts with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union and the Batavia Police Benevolent Association Monday night -- one- and two-year pacts, respectively, that provide minimal increases in pay.
The collective bargaining agreements with the unions were set to expire on March 31.
City Manager Jason Molino said he was pleased that negotiators of both unions settled for limited year contracts due to the fact that county and city leaders continue to work on a Sales Tax Allocation Agreement to replace the current one that expires in February 2018.
The terms of the contracts are as follows:
-- The AFSCME’s 36 Department of Public Works employees will receive a 1 percent raise effective April 1, 2017, and $500 stipends during the first pay period following City Council’s approval. This payment will not be included as part of each member’s base annual salary.
The total impact on the 2016-17 budget is $22,300, and the one-year term of contract wages, retirement and Social Security adds up to $20,520.
-- The PBA’s 30 officers will not receive a salary increase until April 1, 2018, when a 1.5 percent hike kicks in, with that raises contingent upon the extension, renewal or amendment of the sales tax agreement. They also will receive $500 stipends during the first pay period following City Council approval.
Additionally, effective immediately all PBA members will transfer from a 384-d to a 384-e retirement plan, and the starting salary for a police officer will increase to $48,920.
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch explained that 21 of the PBA officers were under the 384-d plan which gives police and fire department employees a pension of half-pay after 20 years. Under the 384-e plan, those employees would be able to accrue 1/60th of their base salary up to 32 years of full service, when they would “max out.”
At the end of that time, the pension would be about 75 percent of their salary, he said.
The total impact of the PBA contract on the 2016-17 budget is $18,610; a one-time payment estimate for offering 384-e retirement benefits is $106,202 (to be funded from the retirement contribution reserve account), and the two-year term of contract wages, retirement and social security (if the second year is implemented) adds up to $43,650.
In order to fund these changes as they affect the 2016-17 budget, Council approved a transfer of $40,910 from these contingency budget accounts: city facilities, street maintenance, snow removal, street lights, parks, celebrations, storm sewer, street cleaning, garage, pump station, water distribution, sanitary sewer, waste water treatment and police. A major portion ($18,500) will come from the police budget.
In other action, Council:
-- Unanimously passed a resolution establishing a local law to amend the city sign code and related provisions, with a primary focus on electronic digital signs utilized by businesses.
The law, among other things, reduces the amount of time that the message on an electronic digital sign could be changed from once every hour to once every 10 seconds. It also eliminates an annual $25 fee that would have been imposed upon a business owner to operate a digital sign, and "grandfather's" in digital signs that currently are located in zoning districts (such as residential and/or industrial) not authorized to have electronic message boards.
Molino said the law will take effect within a couple weeks, after paperwork is filed with the Department of State and letters -- along with copies of the new code -- are sent to business owners.
-- Approved a couple of summertime events at Austin Park – the Great Tabernacle Campaign/EFF Church Music Festival on Aug. 24-26, and Care-A-Van Ministries picnics on Thursdays from June 1 through Aug. 31.
The Great Tabernacle Campaign/EFF Church Music Festival is a collaboration of about 30 churches and ministries “to unite and bless the community with music, speaking, food and games,” said the Rev. Jason Norton, pastor of EFF Church in Batavia.