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City and police reach agreement on 3-year contract

The City Council on Monday night approved a new three-year labor agreement with the Hudson Police Patrol Officers' Association.

Members of the police union had been working without a contract since the end of 2011.

Under the new deal, the officers will receive a 1-percent pay raise retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, a 1-percent raise retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013, and a 0.5-percent raise on Oct. 1.

They will get a 2 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2014.

Beginning Oct. 1, the wage for a starting patrol officer will be $22.65 per hour.

Officers step up a pay grade after six months on duty, and after one year on the job. They also receive annual longevity pay increases until reaching the fifth year.

The top hourly wage will be $28.55, effective Oct. 1.

Mayor Alan Burchill reported that the agreement was reached with the help of a mediator. He said the city made its wage and benefit offer after doing comparisons with surrounding cities.

City Administrator Devin Willi noted that the patrol officer's union is the only remaining city employee union after the state Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker effectively ended collective bargaining for all but public safety government workers a couple of years ago.

Willi said Hudson will continue to pay both the employee's and employer's share of contributions to the police officers' Wisconsin Retirement System funds. Other city employees now pay half of the annual contribution to their retirement funds.

Hudson police officers will be entirely responsible for funding their Health Reimbursement Accounts, however.

Willi said many other Wisconsin municipalities now require police officers to contribute to their retirement funds, but those municipalities also typically fund the officers' HRAs.

Willi said he was surprised the police union wanted a three-year contract. He said the officers probably didn't want to have to immediately begin negotiations on the next contract.

Other action

In other action, the council:

--Approved the purchase of a new asphalt patching/recycling trailer for the Public Works Department. The price will be $41,537 with the trade-in of the department's old trailer.

Public Works and Parks Director Tom Zeuli said it would cost more to repair the old trailer than it is worth. He added that the new trailer will allow the city crew to recycle old asphalt and apply it to potholes during the winter months at a greatly reduced cost. The hot asphalt from the trailer would also be more effective for repairing potholes, he said.

"This is an important piece of equipment," Zeuli said.

--Awarded the contract for supplying gasoline and No. 2 diesel fuel for city vehicles to Consolidated Energy. The cooperative's bid was 4 cents per gallon over the rack prices for fuel at St. Paul, as listed by the Oil Price Information Service. A bid from Yocum Oil was substantially higher, according to City Finance Officer Neil Soltis.

--Approved the designation of the following as community events: Celebrate the Holidays Light Up Night, Nov. 29; Celebrate the Holidays Candlelight Stroll, Dec. 6; Celebrate the Holidays Reindeer in the Park, Dec. 7; and Hudson Hot Air Affair, Feb. 7-9, 2014. The designation exempts vendors that participate in the celebrations from the direct seller's application process and permit fees.

--Approved transferring $150,000 from the general fund to create a special revenue fund for the June 20-21, 2013, storm-related costs.

--Approved plans for the Brian Lautenbach Celebrate Life fun run beginning and ending at Weitkamp Park on Saturday, Sept. 28. The run begins at 9 a.m.

--Approved plans for the Willow River Super Fun Walk and Run on Saturday, Oct. 26. The 9 a.m. event starts and ends Willow River Elementary School.

--Approved an Eagle Scout project proposal from Joe Halvorson to install a concrete sidewalk at the Krattley Lane ball fields.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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