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Council Members Approve Pay Cuts, Increased Healthcare Costs

Trenton City Council members voted in favor of salary reductions and increased health care costs for non-union city employees Monday night.

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.

Aftermath

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."

Budget Woes

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.

Keech May 09, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I believe that this vote was fair. I cannot believe that someone would not be able to pay their mortgage making 58,000/yr. My husband(auto mechanic) and myself(flight attnd) bring home that much combined!!! Also I hold the health insurance for our family and my deduction is 225.13 per CHECK!!!! $450.26(month)
Nate Stemen (Editor) May 09, 2012 at 06:50 PM
What do you think? Do you think the decision was fair?
Tod Davis May 09, 2012 at 09:38 PM
A sign of the times. I pay $95.00 per week for a family plan. Would I like to pay less? Yes. Do I think it is my employer's responsibility to shoulder health care costs that are out of control? No.
Garden Love May 09, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Most of the Non-union positions are in management level, not flight attended level or auto mechanic level.
sine-of-the-times May 09, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Yes, sign of the times, bring everyone down, not up is our legislator's mantra. And more tax cuts for businesses will put our cities in even more despair. I have RECALL petitions, see me and sign one....and VOTE out Republicans in November. Teachers took a 6% paycut, (this year, how about years past, too!) are paying 3% for health care retirement, must share % of health care costs, oh, there's more, and are now being attacked in their retirement pay and no one was "shocked", where was that headline??
Garden Love May 09, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Wendy, if Snyder gets rid of personal property tax all local communities will SUFFER, and I am not just talking about employees wages, Im talking SERVICES to keep people safe like police and fire - not to mention everything in-between!
Keech May 10, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Thank you for putting me in my place! I guess auto mechanics and flight attendants don't have as much importance in the world you live in. Here's a little background as to why I say what I do. First and foremost my husband and I both have college educations. He has been in his profession for 35yrs and only makes 30,000/yr. I have been a F/A for 16yrs, and the company I work for is in its 2ND round of bankruptcies. I took a hit of 50% the first time, now they want 5% in wages, 35%increase in medical, and take away half of their contributions to my 401K. Again, I ONLY make 30,000/yr. I believe EVERYONE deserves to make a FAIR wage; however, we still have the rich getting richer and the middle class sliding to poverty! It is a sign of the times, so maybe the noses need to be taken out of the clouds! Everyone who HAS a job is worthy of respect. Have a great day,
Garden Love May 10, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Keech it has NOTHING to do with auto mechanics and flight attendants having any more importance in this world that "I" live in. So get off your high horse. I was simply referring to the fact that the Non-union positions ARE IN MANAGEMENT LEVEL, therefore as the way of the world make more money than non-management. Therefore, as a way of the world, they have larger mortgages than a household that makes 58,000/year, therefore, with drastic cuts, cannot afford their mortgage.
Keech May 10, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Garden Love, who do you suppose should take cuts? non-management? so they can lose their homes? No high horse here, everyone needs to bare the burden of economy down turns! Wendy, where are you going to be? I'll be signing that petition!!!!!!
Garden Love May 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Keech, I believe that there are money pits in Trenton that Council should be addressing first! Everyone knows that the Ice Rink costs the City close to a million every year, it is not a self sustaining service, as well as the Transfer Station. Administration had a budget that BALANCED without taking ANY cuts from any employees! City employees, especially non-management, are already underpaid compared to similar jobs in the private sector!

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