By Kyle Thompson
Middletown Firefighters have agreed to a new three-year International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) contract that City Council is considering. The first reading of the contract was done at Tuesday's City Council meeting. The contract will freeze wage increases for at least two years and will double the health care payments of the firefighters.
There will be no wage increases for 2012 and 2013, except if council approves raises for other nonunion and union employees as dictated by a “me too” clause. Additionally, their health care payments will increase from 7.5 percent to 15 percent. The contract is expected to affect nearly 75 firefighters.
For 2012 Middletown has budgeted just under $21 million, or 72 percent, of the general fund for public safety. Of that $21 million, $8.9 million is spent on the fire department. 88 percent of the $8.9 million (about $7.8 million) is spent on personnel.
“I think considering the economic times and the financial times the governor put the city in, it was a win for the city,” IAFF President Jon Harvey said, “and there was no sense of us prolonging any kind of process when our goal is to try to move this city forward.”
Harvey said the contract does move the city forward because it controls costs, and there’s no substantial cost to the city.
The Council is expected to vote on the contract at February 7th's Council meeting.