The next RTM meeting is on Tuesday, March 6th at 7:30 pm in Town Hall (110 Myrtle Avenue). You can watch the meeting on Cablevision channel 79, Frontier channel 99, or online here. You can see the official agenda by clicking here. Disclaimer: What’s below is my interpretation of the agenda and not an official communication from the RTM.
In short, the RTM will discuss the following issues:
- Whether to ratify a pension agreement between the Town of Westport and our local Firefighter's union,
- Whether to approve a collective employment agreement between the Town of Westport and our local Firefighter's union and appropriate the funds necessary for the Town of Westport to meet its obligations under that agreement for the current fiscal year,
- Whether to amend a previously approved appropriation of $850,000 so that this $850,000 can be used to purchase 6 medium duty dump trucks instead of 5, and
- Whether to reappoint Patricia Cimarosa to the Board of Directors of the Westport Transit District.
AGENDA ITEM #1: Whether to ratify a pension agreement between the Town of Westport and our local Firefighter's union:
The term of the proposed pension plan is July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2024, and the meeting packet includes a "redlined" version of this agreement compared to the agreement considered by the RTM last year. Some key provisions in the agreement are summarized below.
Employees hired on or after July 1, 2017 would be in a hybrid program that includes both a defined contribution plan (e.g., a 401K), where the town would match 50% of employee contributions up to a total of 3% of employee salary, and a defined benefit plan (e.g., a traditional pension). The defined benefit plan would have no cost of living adjustment, and the employee contribution to the plan would be 8% of employee salary. These employees could retire as of July 1st at the latest of (1) age 55 with 20 years of service, (2) 20 years of service, or (3) age 60 plus 10 years of service.
Employees hired before July 1, 2017 but who have not yet served 20 years would be in a defined benefit program. The defined benefit program would have a cost of living adjustment that is capped at 2.75% after age 65. Employees would contribute 9% of their salaries to the program - under the prior version of the agreement they contributed 10% - and they could retire as of July 1st at the later of (1) age 52 or (2) completion of 20 years of service.
Employees with 20 years of service would be in a defined benefit program with more generous cost of living adjustments than their less-tenured colleagues, and they would contribute 9% of their salaries to the program rather than the 10% in the prior version of the agreement. These employees could retire as of July 1st at the later of (1) 20 years of service or (2) age 49.
AGENDA ITEM #2: Whether to approve a collective employment agreement between the Town of Westport and our local Firefighter's union and appropriate the funds necessary for the town to meet its obligations under that agreement for the current fiscal year:
The meeting packet includes a "redlined" version of the proposed pension plan that shows the differences between the agreement the RTM will consider on Tuesday and the agreement considered last year. The term of the agreement is July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2021, and some key provisions include the following:
- The town must have 15 union employees on duty during a shift rather than 14, except in the event of Town-wide layoffs due to a severe fiscal downturn,
- The town is providing a stipend to employees that decline medical insurance coverage and whose families are not covered by Town of Westport or Board of Education insurance,
- For employees that choose the High Deductible Health Plan and HSA, the employee contributions towards the total premium paid by the town would increase from 9% to 11%, 9% to 12%, 10% to 13%, and 11% to 14%, for the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 fiscal years, respectively, and
- The wage matrices in schedule A have higher base salaries for all positions and levels of experience. The inflation adjustment on the vertical axes seem to assume CPIs for the fiscal years 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 of 2.5%, 2.25%, 2.5%, and 2.5%, respectively.
AGENDA ITEM #3: Whether to amend a previously approved appropriation of $850,000 so that this $850,000 can be used to purchase 6 medium duty dump trucks instead of 5:
The town received a "favorable" bid that, along with approximately $40,000 from the sale of older vehicles, will allow it to purchase 6 medium duty Freightliner trucks for $850,000. The RTM already approved the appropriation of $850,000 on March 1, 2016 and authorized the issuance of bonds to fund the appropriation. This agenda item concerns modifying the number of trucks in the resolution from 5 to 6.
The purchase of the additional medium duty Freightliner would generate approximately $150,000 savings next fiscal year because the town would only need to purchase one Lo Pro dump truck rather than two it had planned to purchase.
AGENDA ITEM #4: Whether to to reappoint Patricia Cimarosa to the Board of Directors of the Westport Transit District:
The Westport Transit District provides public transportation in the Town of Westport with minibuses operated under subcontract with the Norwalk Transit District. Its services include commuter shuttles to the Metro North stations and daytime Door-to-Door transportation for seniors and citizens with disabilities.
The Westport Transit District has two directors that serve four-year terms. There isn't any information regarding Ms. Cimarosa in the meeting packet, but I look forward to meeting her and hearing the Transit Committee report regarding her appointment at the meeting. Disclaimer: This post has been my interpretation of the agenda and not an official communication from the RTM. You can view the official meeting agenda here, and a screenshot of the agenda is pictured below.