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Health and retirement costs drive up Glenville town payroll

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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— The town of Glenville last year spent about $2.4 million for health insurance, retirement and other benefits for its 93 employees, who earned $4.8 million in salaries, says a recently compiled town report.

The average cost of benefits per employee is $20,000, according to the report obtained by The Daily Gazette through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Read a copy of the report on the Capital Region Scene blog.

Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the town’s Budget and Finance Committee had recommended that the town prepare this compensation statement so everyone is more aware of the true cost of providing government services.

“It really puts all of us — management, employees, residents — on the same page with the same frame of reference so we all know what the town taxpayer is actually paying toward the biggest portion of our budget, which is compensation and benefits,” he said.

Total employee costs are the highest for the Glenville Police Department — nearly $2.7 million. Its 21 employees earn a total salary of close to $1.75 million, which includes $1.4 million in base salary, $125,000 in overtime and other compensation including holiday pay, sick time, longevity and uniform allowance. Total benefits come to $922,000, which includes nearly $500,000 in pension costs, $108,000 in Social Security and $259,000 in health benefits as well as disability, workers’ compensation, life insurance and Medicare.

The average total employee cost in the Police Department was about $127,000 — $83,000 in salary and $44,000 in benefits.

The second most costly group is members of CSEA, which represents dispatchers, Water Department employees and support staff, with total compensation of $2.55 million. They earned $1.7 million in salary and $837,000 in benefits. The average cost per employee was under $80,000 — $54,000 in salary and $26,000 in benefits.

The Glenville Highway Department had total employee costs of nearly $1.9 million. This includes $1.2 million in salary, $264,000 in health benefits and $390,000 in non-health benefits. Average employee cost was $89,000 — $58,000 in salary and $31,000 in benefits.

This was followed the non-union management employees who earned average total wages of $104,000 and benefits of $10,000; and the $19,050 in salary earned by the supervisor and Town Board members. Board members do not get health insurance but there were $3,400 in other costs such as Social Security, Medicare, disability insurance and worker’s compensation.

Koetzle said the report did open some people’s eyes. “What’s killing us is the health insurance increases and the retirement fund increases,” he said.

He added that he is not blaming the employees for this fiscal situation. “It’s structurally a problem in our state. It has to be fixed,” he said.

One idea would be to take health insurance out of collective bargaining negotiations. Koetzle said that would allow the town to shop around for health care plans and offer high-deductible plans. “Not force anything on employees but to really bring more creative options to them,” he said.

The town is preparing to negotiate contracts with three unions. All three agreements expire at the end of the year.

Town officials have sat down with PBA representatives. The talks reportedly are going slowly but are cordial.

“I think both sides are realistic and we both have the same understanding of the environment we’re in,” Koetzle said.

They haven’t really started discussions with the other two units, he added.

 
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