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Published: Saturday, 7/18/2009

Tentative deal between Toledo and firefighters would save city $1.8M in '09

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The tentative contract between the city of Toledo and the union representing firefighters includes givebacks on pension benefits and clothing allowances and at least some savings from co-payments for insurance premiums, according to documents released Friday by the Finkbeiner administration.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said Thursday the city had reached a tentative agreement with Toledo Firefighters Local 92, one week after Toledo City Council approved a new three-year contract with the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association.

A report from Toledo's finance department prepared yesterday showed the firefighters contract would save the city $1.82 million through the end of 2009 and $3.74 million in 2010, assuming 40 new firefighters are hired in 2010.

The savings would come from $886,029 through the end of 2009 and $177,205 in 2010 in pension rollbacks; $100,000 from co-payments in 2010, and $250,000 each year from cuts to clothing allowances. There would be overtime savings of $687,482 this year and $2.22 million in 2010, the report said.

Neither the mayor nor union President James Martin would reveal specifics of the proposed contract. The terms are expected to be explained to the union's 445 members and council before its meeting Tuesday.

"I hope they'll ratify it," Mr. Martin said. "I think it's the best we can do and I think it's the best the city can do at this time."

The contract with the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association called for a two-year wage freeze and a pay raise of 3.5 percent in 2011, the third year.

In a letter yesterday to council, Mr. Finkbeiner said the city's deficit projection for 2009 stood at about $8.65 million.

The city is negotiating with the Toledo Police Command Officers Association and AFSCME Local 2058 Supervisors.

The mayor said the city would realize another $600,000 to $800,000 in savings this year from the command officers' contract, which is near completion.

The contract with the police patrolmen's union ended up with police officers agreeing to pay most of their 10 percent pension contribution for six months. In return, they got 6 1/2 additional vacation days to use this year. The union agreed that all new hires would pay the full 10 percent. Police officers also agreed to contribute to employee health care, ranging from $25 a month for a single employee to $55 for a family.

The agreement promised police officers lump-sum payments in 2010 if city tax revenues for 2009 end up surpassing $148 million. The administration had based its bargaining on projections of $145 million in income tax revenue in 2009, an estimate both the TPPA and Local 92 claimed was pessimistic.

The administration said the police contract would save $2.4 million in the current year and $800,000 in 2010. However, if the same wage terms end up being applied to other city unions, as expected, the cost in 2011 would be $2.89 million.

Mr. Finkbeiner again asked council to approve cutting the 100 percent tax credit given to Toledo residents who work and pay taxes in another locale and increasing the trash-collection fee.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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