By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre City Council on Monday approved pay raises of 3 percent for nonunion employees.
It also approved raises of 3.25 percent for 26 city public works employees. That raise was contained in a labor contract ratified by members of Local 336 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and approved Monday night by the council.
The new one-year contract also extends from 25 to 31 the maximum number of years public works employees can receive longevity pay. The city agreed to pay half of this year's 45 percent health insurance premium increase as part of the contract.
The pay raises approved Monday total about $53,700.
The raises for nonunion employees were included in the city budget that was passed in September but had to be approved separately by the council before they could go into effect, City Clerk Lowell Swenson said today.
The raises are retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice told the council he will not accept his raise. In October the City Council's Finance Committee approved Rice's request that the money - about $570 - be put into his travel and training account instead.
City Judge Joyce Perszyk's raise is about $961.
The 29 nonunion city employees include workers at the city water plant, supervisors in the Public Works Department, finance personnel, the police and fire chiefs and their assistants, and clerical staff.
The city is also paying for half of the 45 percent insurance premium increase for nonunion employees.
On Sept. 15 the council approved a mill increase of 8.28 mills - about $63,160 - to pay for half of the 45 percent increase in health insurance premiums for all city workers. That is an increase of about $14 on a property worth $50,000.
During the meeting, Rice praised council member Jack Brandon for his work chairing the council's Labor Relations Committee. Brandon was absent for medical reasons.
"I would like to say that Jack Brandon did what I consider a superb job on getting 336 what they wanted and what was best for the city," Rice told the council before the vote. "He spent many, many long hours on this, and he is to be commended."
The unions representing city police officers and firefighters are still negotiating new contracts with the city.
The firefighters and the city will resume negotiations tonight at 7 at City Hall.