The city of Corvallis has new contracts with its firefighters and police officers. From a fiscal standpoint, that’s the good news. And the bad news.
Good because having something signed and sealed makes it a known quantity. Bad because the deals will cost an additional $2.35 million over three years for the firefighters and about the same amount over five years for the police.
The additional spending comes at a time of stretched budgets and the all-but-certain referral of an expanded local property tax levy to the voters this November.
Two more city employee contracts expire June 30, those of the 911 emergency response dispatch workers and the American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), by far the city’s largest bargaining unit. The AFCSME unit has 221 employees, more than the other three unions (55 for fire, 50 for police and 15 for 911) combined.
Negotiations for both AFSCME and the 911 workers have just begun, said Mary Beth Altmann Hughes, director of human resources.
“It’s fortunate that we have agreement (with the police and firefighters),” said City Manager Mark Shepard, who added that although he and his budget staff were expecting increases, the size of the outlays might force him to do some tinkering with the 2018-19 budget.
In the future, city budget officials may have more tinkering to do because the raises will “compound” as the years pass. The retroactive pay and first year of the police deal adds up to $315,000, but the deal will cost $899,000 in the 2021-22 fiscal year. Year one of the firefighter deal is $441,000, with the 2020-21 cost more than $1.1 million.
Here is a look at the two deals:
• Firefighters will receive 4 percent raises in June 2018, with some staffers receiving an additional 2 percent. In December, all members will receive 2 percent increases. In 2019, members will receive 3 percent raises in June and 2 percent raises in December. In 2020, a 3 percent raise takes effect in June, with an additional 1 percent tacked on in December. Members ratified the new deal Feb. 12.
• Police officers will receive 3 percent raises in the first four years, with a 2.5 percent pay increase in year five. The deal, ratified Feb. 15 by the Corvallis Police Officers Association, expires June 30, 2022.
Altmann Hughes said the firefighters received larger raises because they were further behind the salaries paid by the jurisdictions the city uses for comparison purposes.
“What we don’t know,” said Shepard, “is what the impact of the AFSCME deal will be. There is some uncertainty there, and we may have to make some assumptions” as he prepares his April 19 message to the Corvallis Budget Commission.
“As we get closer to April, we are hoping to have more information. I’m not sure bargaining will be done by then, but at least we should have some idea where they are heading.”