Some city workers to get raises

 

DOVER — Over the next three years some city employees will receive pay increases after a labor contract was approved by city council on Feb.8.

The agreement was with the Dover Organization of Employees, which represents about 192 city workers.

Some of the workers that will be affected by this change will be library clerks, public workers, customer service positions and equipment operators.

“Total wages are increasing a little over 4 percent for that three budget year cycle,” said city manager Scott Koenig.

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Scott
Koenig

He said union members will receive a total $1 per hour increase in their base pay over the three years of the agreement.

A 50-cent per hour increase backdated to Sept. 27, plus an additional 25-cent raise in July 2016 and another 25-cent increase in July 2017.

“It’s a combination of outside workers and office workers,” Mr. Koenig said.

“But they’re performing all the critical functions for the city. They are absolutely critical in getting the work done.”

He said members of the DOE have been working without a labor agreement since July 1, 2015. The new contract is backdated to that date and runs through June 30, 2018.

“Every time we get into labor negotiations people are requesting increasing, due to cost of living,” Mr. Koenig. “We have to look at our pay plans every time we look over these contracts and we as the city thought the request was generally fair.”

He said the contract will increase the city’s budget by about $966,000.

“That includes the salary increase and different projects by the city,” Mr. Koenig said.

Seven of the eight council members were present, as Councilman James Hosfelt was absent during the Feb. 8 meeting.

Councilman Brian Lewis was the only council member to vote against the contract.

He questioned how the contract will affect the taxpayers.

“Based on this budget can you determine if there will be a tax increase?,” he asked during the meeting.

Mr. Koenig said the city didn’t set aside any money, but feels confident everything will be fine moving forward.

“We have had open positions and our revenue has been coming in slightly higher,” Mr. Koenig said.

“In some cases the increases aren’t over the top, so they’re able to be contained. We have to move some money from different accounts to make this work, but we’ve been carrying a number of vacancies for a while, so that will help too.”

Mr. Koenig said the contract won’t impact the budget for fiscal year 2016.

“It’s not going to have a negative impact,” Mr. Koenig said. “We’ve had a number of positions that’s been open and our revenues are running a little higher. There’s a small impact, but it will be contained.

He said it will have an impact on the fiscal 2017 budget, but doesn’t see the need for a potential tax increase.

“We had anticipated that we would be paying something additional, but we weren’t sure,” Mr. Koenig said. “Now that we’re building the budget we’re crunching in all of the numbers.

“There was a tax increase and some fee increases that were passed last year. We’re looking at what’s going to be the state revenue streams. The council has been clear that they want to see a budget that doesn’t have a tax increase in it. We’re trying to figure out what things need to be shaken up.”

Mr. Koenig said he’s happy that the city reached an agreement.

“This is a large group of employees and they perform critical functions all across the city,” Mr. Koenig said.”

“I’m happy we reached an agreement, both for the employees and for the city. I’m happy that we came to an agreement and we can move on for the next few years underneath this contract.”

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