Merrimack moves 5 of 6 union contracts to ballot at Deliberative Session
Friday, March 22, 2013
Five of the town’s six union contracts will be up to voters’ approval at the April 9 Town Meeting.
Police dispatchers and office staff, the Highway Department, police, firefighters and paramedics, and police and fire department administrators a agreed on the contract terms with the town. Department of Public Works employees are at an impasse with the town and may be moving to mediation following Town Meeting.
Only two people spoke at Merrimack’s Deliberative Session, held on March 13.
Carol Lang told the Town Council she hopes future negotiations will bring school and town employees closer together.
“I guess this is just food for thought … in the long run, I would really like to see acclimation between the two. The school district employees are paying 15 percent of the HMO,” Lane said about the health care plan. “We could strive for equity between the various town bodies.”
All five of the contracts are three years in length and contain a flat wage increase of $1,500 that begins in the first year. Four out the five unions won’t see their complete health care concessions kick in until the third year. They include higher co-pays and a 10 percent contribution to the health care plan.
Town Manager Eileen Cabanel said last year that a contract was settled between the town and the police dispatchers union where employees are already contributing 10 percent to their health care plans. The higher co-pays for this union will also begin in the third year.
The proposed fiscal 2014 operating budget for the town comes in at $28.7 million. The tax rate, which is the same as approved by voters last year, is $5.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The current tax rate had dropped to $5.14 per $1,000, as unanticipated revenue from Merrimack Premium Outlets and Public Service of New Hampshire lowered the tax burden.
Voters will head to the polls to cast their ballots on the proposed budget and other warrant articles 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at the all-purpose room at James Mastricola Upper Elementary School, 24 Baboosic Lake Road.
Erin Place can be reached at 594-6589 or email@example.com. Also, follow Place on Twitter (@Telegraph_ ErinP).