By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cloverdale’s city employee groups have reached agreements on new labor contracts that for the first time will require them to pay a portion of the costs of their medical and retirement plans.
Following a special City Council closed session over the weekend, city administrators announced that an agreement was reached with the three labor associations, including police officers, dispatchers and classified service employees.
“These agreements are a reflection of that (employee) commitment and a recognition of the financial constraints the city is facing,” Mayor Gus Wolter said in a statement.
The new contracts, which cover the city’s 42 employees, are retroactive to July 1, 2011 and extend to June 30, 2013. They contain no cost-of-living adjustments.
Among the concessions:
–Employees will pay for 5 percent of the cost of their medical insurance premiums.
–Employees will contribute to the cost of their pensions equating to 5.5 percent of salary for police employees by October, 2012 and 1.7 percent for classified employees and dispatchers.
“These are two big concessions the employees have made,” City Manager Nina Regor said Tuesday. She said the savings to the city in those two areas will be about $140,000 over the next two years.
Cloverdale has an unusual way of funding pensions, through a property tax approved by voters in 1974.
The tax currently is 12.5 cents for every $100 of assessed valuation. On a house assessed at $300,000, that equates to $375 a year for a homeowner.
The total projected to be collected for this budget year is $944,000, according to Regor.
That does not cover the entire cost of employee pensions. The city budgeted an additional $161,000 in August to cover the pension costs this year for what they call “after added” expenses. The intent was to recoup it through user fees and other taxes.
Under the new labor agreements, employees, through a phased approach, will contribute two-thirds of the cost of the after-added benefits, up to 5.5 percent of their salaries.
New hires will have to pay the entire cost of any pension benefits not covered by the property tax.
In a separate development, the city announced that Police Chief Mark Tuma will not be represented by the Management Association, which has been decertified. Instead he will be an “at-will” employee and will earn $125,000 annually, a 10 percent salary increase that was agreed to in 2009, but postponed.
Tuma also will pay toward his medical and pension plans.