City Council OKs firefighter contract

A new firefighters contract was approved by the Fort Dodge City Council on Monday.

The firefighters will receive raises of 4.5 percent in the first two years of the three-year deal and a 4 percent raise in the final year. They will also begin paying 8 percent of the premium costs for the standard health insurance program.

There was no debate on the contract with International Association of Firefighters Local 622.

Council members Kim Alstott, Andy Fritz, Robert ”Barney” Patterson, Mark Taylor and Don Wilson, who participated in the meeting by phone from Florida, voted for the agreement.

Councilman Dean Hill, whose son, Jeff, is a Fire Department lieutenant, abstained.

Councilman Dave Flattery was absent.

The union has already approved the contract, which goes into effect July 1.

Firefighters will receive 4.5 percent raises on Jan. 1, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2015, plus a 4 percent raise on Jan. 1, 2016.

Under the contract, firefighters will pay 8 percent of the premium on the current health care plan. Union President Tom Peart has said the firefighters are the first city employees to pay a percentage of their insurance costs.

The firefighters will also have the option of signing up for a high deductible health insurance plan with a health savings account.

The union represents 27 people including captains, lieutenants and firefighters.

In other business, the council approved an option which would give the city government the chance to buy some property at the corner of 10th Avenue North and 16th Street for a potential intersection realignment project.

The option would enable the city to buy the property at 1602 10th Ave. N. for $75,000 from David and Lisa Wilson, of Fort Dodge. City Attorney Mark Crimmins said the option locks in the purchase price and gives the local government the first chance to buy the property.

The street in that area will be torn up this summer for a sanitary sewer project, and city leaders are considering the possibility of realigning the intersection there while the sewer job is under way.

City Engineer Chad Schaeffer said it would cost about $200,000 to buy all the needed property and demolish the buildings for an intersection realignment.

Alstott, Fritz, Patterson, Taylor and Wilson voted to secure the option. Hill voted no.

Also on Monday, the council approved a measure that gives the city the authority to borrow up to $130,000 to pay for police vehicles and computers for the Municipal Building. Additional action will have to be taken to actually borrow the money.