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Stockholm, highway employees agree on three-year contract

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WINTHROP - The town of Stockholm has agreed on a three-year contract with its highway department employees that calls for salary increases of 2 percent in each of the next three years as well as a change in health insurance carriers that town officials anticipate will create a $65,000 savings during that same time period.

The town board approved a package that will see the town’s five full-time highway department employee’s hourly rate jump from the current $18.74 per hour to $20.28 per hour in 2015. The employees will receive 38 cent per hour increases in each year of the contract.

But Town Supervisor Clark S. Decker said the highway department hourly employees’ bargaining unit also agreed to switch from their current Teamster’s “Cadillac” insurance to a HSA program administered by the Foy Agency of Watertown.

“This change will result in savings of approximately $65,000 for the town over the next three years,” he noted.

The town currently pays annual premiums of $16,848 for a two-person plan, $23,000.64 for a family plan and $9,230 for a single employee plan. The rates are expected to drop to $5,405 for a single plan, $10,097.28 for a two-person plan and $13,675 for a family plan in 2013, a move that would save the town approximately $27,000 in premiums in 2013 alone. Employees do not contribute to their health insurance premiums.

Mr. Decker said the town has also agreed to make an additional $650 contribution to the employee’s plan to defray differences in prescription co-pays resulting from the switch in insurance carriers.

The Stockholm town supervisor said he felt the negotiations resulted in a fair package for the employees as well as for the town and its taxpayers.

“Our employees and highway superintendent have taken on a great deal of additional responsibilities over the last 15 months. They are now responsible for plowing an additional 28.1 miles of county roads along with the 99 miles of town roads. In the summer, they are mowing an additional 30 miles of county roads,” he said.

“The town men are also contracting to truck material for the county Highway Department. As a result of their work, they have generated approximately $100,000 in additional revenues for the town,” Mr. Decker added.

The town supervisor and Councilman Matt White represented the town at the bargaining table, while the union members were represented by Brian K. Hammond, president of Teamster’s Local 687.

Mr. Decker said he was appreciative to the town employees and Mr. Hammond for the changes they agreed to in the contract for 2013 to 2015 that he anticipates will save the municipality several thousand dollars.

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