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County OKs highway dept. raises

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

Pay raises of 70 cents an hour each year for three years are among features of a contract being negotiated with Fayette County highway department workers.

Fayette County Council and the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday conditionally approved a new four-year contract with highway workers that is being negotiated by Gary Naylor, commissioner.

The contract calls for no pay increase in 2019 but then 70 cents an hour additional each year for 2020, 2021 and 2022. The county’s 2019 budget has already been finalized by the county council without raises for next year, Naylor said.

Current pay rates range from $17.34 an hour to $18.43 an hour, depending on the job classification. If the raises are agreed to, hourly rates starting in 2022 would range from $19.44 to $20.53.

Naylor said the highway workers had also asked for an increase in the amount paid by the county for health insurance. The county currently pays 85 percent of the employee premium. The union had asked for the county to raise its portion to 90 percent.

At their meeting, commissioners Leota King and Mark Nobbe asked Naylor to go back to the workers with a counter-proposal to keep the county portion the same, 85 percent.

“I want to counter with 85/15 because that’s what we do for other (county) employees,” King said.

Naylor said he will meet again with representatives of the highway workers on Dec. 11.

Also Tuesday, the Fayette County Council approved  an $8,000 additional appropriation for the county coroner’s office to pay for more autopsies than anticipated for the year.