In a vote that quote "shocked" Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack, city council members voted in favor of salary reductions and increased health care costs for non-union city employees at a regularly scheduled city council meeting Monday.
The changes affect 31 current employees. Also, a number of retirees, whose benefits mirror the most current employee health care costs, will be affected by the increase.
"I didn't have a clue that that was going to be presented last night," Stack said. "I was a little shocked when it was brought up to be voted on."
Stack added the changes had been discussed in several previous budget study sessions, but was not aware Councilman Tim Taylor would be asking council members to vote last night.
Taylor made a motion to add the recommendation to the agenda and it passed unanimously.
"I was very upset with the whole thing. ... I was not informed that they were going to bring that up at the meeting," Stack said. "I informed the councilperson that I was not happy."
The recommendation requires non-union employees to take a 5 percent salary reduction and 20 percent increase in health care costs.
Human Resources Director Scott Church said he was surprised by the recommendation, as well.
By the Numbers
Non-union city employees, effective July 1, will pay significantly more for health care.
Before the recommendation passed, non-union employees paid $30 for a single health care plan, $45 for a two-person plan and $60 for a family plan per month.
On July 1, non-union employees will pay 20 percent of the total premium, which increases the monthly requirement to $83.92 for a single health care plan, $199.50 for a two-person plan and $249.21 for a family plan.
Non-union employees will also have a 5 percent reduction in salary on top of a previous five percent reduction made in 2010.
For example, an actual annual salary of a mid-level non-union employee is $64,412, and with the reduction in 2010 the employee then made $61,192. Beginning July 1, that same employee will make $58,132 annually.
The total reduction in salary from 2010 to present is 10 percent.
Stack said she was approached by at least one employee who told her the reduction in salary and increase in health care responsibilities might make it difficult to make mortgage payments each month.
"We were still in discussion stages over the budget and I thought that this should be discussed. ... I was not for doing this right now," Stack said.
Stack said non-union employees "are not happy right now."
Stack added she regrets not voting "no" on the recommendation and to ask for a roll call vote from council members.
"I am upset with myself when it came down to the vote last night, because I didn't want the employees to think I was not behind them," Stack said. "I've been in their position at one point in time."
A projected in the 2012-13 budget was the primary reason for Taylor's recommendation.
Council members have proposed a number of cuts to balance the coming budget including increasing the millage to the charter limit of 20 mils, which would add about $600,000 in annual revenue.
The recommendation passed last night will save the city about $500,000 annually.