WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Newport Public Works workers get labor agreement with the city – retro to July 1

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The city’s eighteen public works department workers that maintain city streets, water and sewer lines and storm drains, among other things, came to an agreement with the city today as the city approved a wage and benefits package for the workers over a three year period. City officials say they like longer agreements like three years since it helps to make future city budget planning a little more predictable.

Under the pact approved by the city council, city public works personnel will receive a three percent pay increase in the current fiscal year and next, and then a two percent pay increase in the third year. Public works employees also received a bump up in their comp time when they have to work extra hours in the event of major storms that can cause street, water or sewer system failures. The public works employees also agreed to have some of their medical benefits include a health savings account that the city deposits into a special account for each employee. The labor contract covers fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

City fire fighters recently won a two year contract for the same pay increases with fire fighter work boots thrown in. Firefighter boots are very expensive because they can withstand extreme temperatures. They also agreed to having part of the medical benefits come in the form of personal health savings accounts.

Meanwhile, city officials continue to negotiations with city police officers who are under the state PERS retirement system. They have yet to an agreement with the city.

Public works and fire department contracts are retroactive to July 1st, which means there will be a little more in their holiday shopping budget this year.

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