FLINT TWP. — Under the shadow of a budget dispute, the township board approved contract agreements with four labor unions Monday night. But the vote was not unanimous.
Bya6to1vote,theboardapproved 2014-15 contracts for AFSCME Local 1918-01 (clerical); command officers, patrol officers and the Professional Firefighters Local 1425.
Contract details were not disclosed.
Trustee Frank Kasle cast the lone dissenting vote.
“I am not in favor of any of them and will vote no on al of them,” Kasle said. “I believe all of them are too expensive for our township, given our budgetary situation.”
At last month’s board meeting, when the proposed 2014 budget was voted down, Kasle suggested a ten percent cut in personnel costs across the board, noting that employees expenses are 70- 75 percent of the township’s annual budget.
Other board members did not support his suggestion.
Kasle said he would like to see township finances in good enough shape to give pay raises, generous pensions and other perks to employees but that is not the case.
In other action, the board also approved a plan to increase the amount of money paid to employees as a stipend in lieu of health care and also to reinstate stipends paid to trustees in lieu of health care.
Trustee Barb Vert asked to vote on the proposals separately but Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said they were a package deal.
Vert and Trustees Belenda Parker and Frank Kasle voted no but the motion passed 4-3.
The stipend is $1,850 for a single person compared to health care premiums costing $7,282.67; $4150 for a couple compared to premiums costing $16,445.42 and $5,000 to a family compared to premiums costing $19,900.16.
Township Karyn Miller said that health care premiums are continuing to rise and she prefers paying a $5,000 stipend rather than a premium of nearly $20,000.
She also said the intent was that by offering a higher stipend, more employees would opt for it instead of health care. Currently about four of them have.
Kasle noted that the $6,500 trustees pay is less than many surrounding municipalities but said he would not accept the trustee stipend as long as the township has a million-dollar annual deficit. The board voted to do away with the stipend last year but Miller asked to add it back because she said trustees should have the same choice employees have.
In further budgetary business, the board went into closed session to discuss a pension change for controller Beth Takacs. No details were disclosed.