PLAINS TWP. — Any new police officers hired in the township over the next four years will have to contribute 1 percent of the cost of their health insurance, according to a new contract commissioners approved Thursday.
Robert Sax, the new chairman of the board of commissioners, trumpeted the concession by the police union after the meeting, saying any new hire into a unionized department in the township will contribute 1 percent of the cost of their health insurance premium up to a maximum $600 per year, as will the commissioners themselves.
Sax called the concession “the biggest hurdle” in contract negotiations.
“They were the last union in the township to agree to that. We’re all on board and we’re all very happy. (New hires in) DPW (Department of Public Works), police and fire are all contributing as of Jan. 1. … It’s very hard to get, for all three to contribute. At least it’s something. Plus, the board is going to contribute also,” Sax said.
Current employees hired before Jan. 1 will not have to contribute toward their health insurance premiums, except for the commissioners.
“We didn’t think it would be fair for us not to contribute if the employees are doing it,” Commissioner Brigid O’Connor said. “I think that says something about us.”
“That we’re working as a team,” Sax concluded.
Police officers also will receive 3-percent annual raises across-the-board, and their annual uniform allowance will increase from $600 to $650. All other benefits remain unchanged, Sax said.
The raises were calculated into this year’s budget, which contains no tax increase.
In other business:
• Commissioner Ciro Cinti said township residents who want to rent the Plains Lions Pavilion for a private event this year should submit an application by Jan. 31 because the reservation calendar fills up fast. Township residents are given preference for reservation applications submitted by the end of the month, he said.
Applications from non-residents will be accepted beginning Feb. 1. Rental rates are the same as they were in 2013. Applications may be picked up at the municipal building at 126 N. Main St. Call 570-332-8043 for more information.
• Commissioners authorized a payment of $15,891.30 to Stell Enterprises for work on the Crescent Drive manhole replacement project.
• Commissioners awarded bids for the sale of the following vehicles: a 1996 Jeep to DeNaples Auto Parts for $601.50; a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria to The Police Car Store for $2,290; and a 2010 Crown Victoria to Chicago Motors for $3,807.
• Commissioners made the following re-appointments for five-year terms: Clarence Oz to the recreation board; Mario Ercolani to the sewer authority; Norman Krulack to the zoning hearing board; and John Kelly to the civil service commission. Bruce Kugler was appointed for a five-year term to the planning commission.
• Sax thanked Commissioner Ron Filippini for his four years of dedicated service as the previous chairman of the board.