In Johnston, Unions Help Alleviate Budget Crisis
The ProJo’s Mark Reynolds reports:
The town’s police officers and many of its municipal workers have made concessions that will ease financial pressures on the taxpayers, officials said yesterday.
Without the unions’ help, the town would have been responsible for budgeting an extra $349,000 to pay for contractually mandated raises and other provisions during the fiscal year that starts July 1, according to Mayor Joseph M. Polisena, who is shepherding an effort to cut costs and eliminate more than $7 million in debt over the next several years.
Polisena had reached out to the unions and asked them to give up pay raises in light of the town’s dire economic situation.
“They have truly stepped up to the plate to help our town and the taxpayers,” Polisena said at a Town Hall news conference. “Today, I say to our residents, ‘When you see a police officer, when you come into the building and see municipal workers, thank them.'”
The municipal workers agreed to give up a 2.9-percent raise this fiscal year – an expense of about $171,000 – and accepted 1.5-percent raises in the final two years of their newly extended contract. Meanwhile, each police officer ceded $2,250 in allowances that pay for new uniforms, cleaning for uniforms, and various firearms expenses.
In turn, the town agreed to lend the unions some additional stability and security by extending their contracts another two years.