9/25/2009

City Budget Time!

Posted by MJ

LUSJ posted and article: CITY OF LOCKPORT: City faces $2M spending hike

• Three-percent pay raises for all employees in 2010, in addition to 3 percent raises given retroactively for 2009, in light of anticipated union contract settlements. Straight payroll costs are estimated at $12.2 million, $1 million more than this year.

• A 13 percent/nearly $590,000 increase in the health insurance tab. The city fully funds insurance premiums for all employees and eligible retirees.

• A $136,000 increase in mandatory payments to employee pension funds. Thanks to the stock market crashing last fall, the state is raising the per-employee payment to 18.5 percent of payroll for police and fire employees, up from 14.4 percent, and to 11 percent of payroll from 7 percent for all other employees. Based on latest information from the state, City Clerk/Budget Director Richard Mullaney penciled in a $1.4 million payment to the police/fire fund and a $415,000 payment to the Employee Retirement System in 2010. Year over year, it’s a 7.5 percent increase in the pension bill.

Most of the 2 million comes from employee obligations. Even at time of 10%+ unemployment in the city, business closures, Delphi's eventual lower assessment etc it's nice to know that the public sector employees can always count on the remaining tax payers to give the cost of living raises and full health care. ;) Some people may read that as sour grapes, but as most companies are forced to streamline and grow efficiencies for even survival in this economy it's alarming that government bodies can just keep on rolling along.

I'm all for public referendum's on public salary contracts, etc. (There's not much better than watching the NYS legislature grant itself a raise). Provisions are needed on the municipalities ability to pay. 

Quick search found Hampton N.H. voters turning down town employee contract amendments:

Article 12 - $69,321 to fund the cost items relating to the Teamsters, Local 633, salaries and benefits for 2009: 925 yes, 1,758 no.
Article 13 - $23,554 to fund the cost items relating to the Hampton Police Association (Sergeants), salaries and benefits for 2009: 971 yes, 1,732 no.
Article 14 - $144,187 to fund the cost items relating to the Hampton Police Association, salaries and benefits for 2009: 890 yes, 1,798 no.

Actually reading through that article the Hampton people get a say on a lot of aspects come voting time. The recent town board reductions in Erie County show how people will come out to vote when they actually get a say in something, beyond just picking someone to represent you and then hoping for the best.

2 comments:

Liz said...

Here's to hoping Gaughn can make a trip up to Lockport. I know what my vote will be. Funny, this year I didn't get my non-government job contractual annual raise, because of the economic downturn. Guess I should look into a job working for Lockport.

MJ said...

Savings are minimal in the big scheme of things. I think the bigger issue is finally having the public voice heard. Not much room for referendums under NYS laws. I think the smaller legislatures will make possible municipal mergers easier to obtain. That is after NYS makes it a legal option, which last I knew of, was in process.

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