North Hampton residents will decide the fate of many warrant articles' bottom line come Saturday during the annual town meeting deliberative session, which starts at 8:30 a.m. at Town Hall.
For the next few days, we'll have a Warrant Primer post at 9 a.m. breaking down some of the 25 articles on the warrant. Today's post focuses on the proposed agreements for the firefighter and police unions.
Article 6 is a proposed three-year agreement with the North Hampton Professional Firefighters Local 3211, while Article 7 is a four-year deal for New England Police Benevolent Association Local 211, which also covers the town's highway employees.
Selectmen have praised the contracts, both of which feature a 3-percent salary raise in each of the years and an annual bonus that doesn't get added into the employees' base salaries. Selectmen said the increases will help the town retain its officers and firefighters and be competitive in the market.
Those raises are offset by savings in healthcare costs, as several changes have reduced the overall price of health insurance for the town without limiting coverage. The biggest change is that both contracts move employees to a new Lumenos plan and off a pricy, three-tiered Blue Cross plan that attorney Joe McKittrick called the "Cadillac" of the market.
Article 6 has a total bottom line salary and benefit appropriation of $61,184 (fiscal year 2013 will cost $32,325, FY2014 will cost $24,000, and FY2015 will cost $28,835). The total estimated cost for the three-year fire contract, though, when healthcare savings are factored in, is $47,640 less than the current contract.
Article 7 has a total bottom line salary and benefit appropriation of $100,425 (FY2013 will cost $22,200, FY2014 will cost $30,300; FY2015 will cost $20,475, and FY2016 will cost $27,450). The total estimated cost for the four-year police contract, though, when healthcare savings are factored in, is $73,340 less than the current contract.