Council ratifies contracts offering wage increases to town employees

6 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — After a brief discussion, town councilors Tuesday approved contracts giving wage increases to its major municipal department employees and also proposed putting a smaller amount of money in the surplus account this budget cycle. 

The unanimous decision came after an executive session to discuss the negotiations. The meeting was held Tuesday because there weren’t enough councilors — four are needed for a quorum — to hold the regularly scheduled Monday session.

Councilors on Tuesday first ratified an agreement that runs through Dec. 31, 2019, for the general government employees under the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

They also approved a contract for the firefighter/drivers working at the Houlton Fire Department and another for Emergency Medical Technicians working for the Houlton Ambulance Department.

Finally, the councilors OK’d a contract for employees at the Public Works Department and authorized Town Manager William MacDonald to sign all of the documents on behalf of the town.

MacDonald said Wednesday that the four bargaining units and the town agreed to across the board general wage increases of 2.5 percent effective Jan. 1, 2018, and 1.5 percent effective Jan. 1, 2019.

The council also introduced a proposal to appropriate $89,712 for the town’s capital reserve, or surplus account.

Town Clerk Cathy O’ Leary said that customarily, the council is supposed to appropriate one mill, or about $140,000, for the surplus account. Since councilors would like to put a smaller amount of money in this year, they had to propose the ordinance. Councilors have noted that they intend to fund the account at one-half mill once again next year.