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Big city benefits discussed in budget review

Benefits packages for employees were discussed during a budget review meeting in Dunkirk this week.

Some of the amounts include $365,000 for municipal benefits, $1.2 million for fire and police benefits and $1 million for medical benefits. However, these numbers are set in stone as they are contract negotiated with the city.

“I just want to explain to these guys about the retirement and how much money the city has to pay and be aware,” Councilman-at-large Paul VanDenVouver said. “It looks good with the revenues coming in, but we have a lot of expenses going out.”

In all, these benefit amounts make up 10% of proposed $24 million spending plan proposed by city Mayor Wilfred Rosas.

“Since I’ve been on we’ve negotiated like all the unions, but we haven’t touched their benefit package,” Rosas responded. “Some of the unions don’t pay a thing and we’ve been trying to get them to pay.”

One union used as an example was the Local 912, which pays for the first five years, then the city covers 100%.

“A family package costs the city about $25,000 and we pay all of that,” Rosas explained. “So somebody may get in at starting pay of $40,000. If they have a benefit package, you have to add $25,000 to that and then you have all these other incentives and stuff and by the time you’re done that $40,000 salary turns into $65,000 or $70,000” in total costs.

Fiscal Affairs Officer Marsha Beach shared that a streets worker making base pay of $46,000 ends up costing $82,000 roughly when adding in all the incentives.

“That’s why you just can’t go by the line where it says ‘personnel.’ That’s just salary. That’s not including all that costs the city for that person,” Rosas said. “It becomes an issue when people say, ‘Why are you bringing in part-timers? Why don’t you just hire two full-timers?’ Well, the two full-timers end up costing the city again over $100,000 easily. Two part-timers will cost the city about $26,000.”

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