Portage board approves bonuses for pending contract

2013-11-13T16:15:00Z 2013-11-13T18:27:35Z Portage board approves bonuses for pending contractJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The Utility Services Board approved a $750 signing bonus for employees as contract negotiations near ending.

Mayor James Snyder told the board at their meeting on Wednesday that the city and Operating Engineers Local 150, which represents the utility department workers, had reached a "handshake agreement" on a new contract.

A part of that contract would be a signing bonus of either $750 or $1,000, said Snyder, adding that union members have not yet ratified the contract.

Member Andre Joseph suggested a $750 bonus be offered and that bonus be extended also to employees in the department not represented by the union.

The board agreed.

In other business, the board also approved an almost $25,000 payout to three employees for outstanding compensatory time.

Snyder said the City Council recently passed an ordinance that would limit comp time to exempt employees except for declared emergencies. Snyder said those who have accrued comp time would be paid for it.

The board approved the one-time payout.

The board also approved spending up to $6,000 to aerate a pond in the Sarasota Heights subdivision. Snyder made the recommendation, saying there are continuing issues of algae growth in the pond, which is usually treated with chemicals.

The idea is that the aeration would eliminate or slow down the algae growth.

In addition, the board approved increasing its annual payment in lieu of taxes to the city by $40,000.

Snyder explained since the utility department does not pay property taxes on its buildings or facilities, it makes a payment to the city. The annual payment was increased from $360,000 to $400,000.

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