News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 13, 2014

Board of Public Works approves 3 union contracts

Firetrucks purchase OK’d

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Terre Haute Board of Public Works and Safety on Monday approved three contracts between the city and labor unions representing city workers.

The board, a five-member body appointed by the mayor, approved contracts for street, cemetery and wastewater utility employees.

The contracts each set pay increases for 2014 at 2.5 percent, which is the standard this year for city employees. Pay in the following two years varies.

In the case of street department employees, represented by the Laborers’ International Union of North America, pay raises are set at 5.5 percent and 5 percent in 2015 and 2016, respectively. However, employees in that department have also agreed to pay an increasing percentage of their health insurance premiums, previously fully covered by the city.

Cemetery employees, on the other hand, have not agreed to “buy back” part of their insurance premiums and have no specified pay raises set for 2015 or 2016. Those increases could be zero, said Chou-il Lee, city attorney.

Allowing employees to take on a larger share of their health insurance costs will give the city more predictable health care costs, Lee told the board Monday afternoon in City Hall.

• The Board of Works also approved the use of Community Leasing Partners, a Kansas-based lender, to finance the purchase of two new fire engines.

Community Leasing Partners, which specializes in loans to cities and towns for big capital purchases, had the lowest of three bids submitted for the financing. Their bid was to finance the two fire trucks at an interest rate of 2.43 percent, making for a total loan cost of $850,881 over five years.

Competing bids were submitted by Terre Haute Savings Bank (2.49 percent) and Riddell National Bank (3.25 percent).

The Board of Public Works and Safety oversees all contracts for the City of Terre Haute. It also handles sidewalk, street and alley closings and requests for changes in parking designations such as the granting of handicapped parking spaces.