Council to approve police union contract, file first quarter financial report


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Evanston Police Department squad cars. The city is expected to approve a police union contract that will be in effect until 2022.

Julia Esparza, City Editor

Aldermen are set to authorize the city manager to execute an updated contract with the Fraternal Order of Police Union at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The contract includes a 1 percent wage increase to go into effect December 31 this year, with a 1.5 percent increase following the next day, and two 2.25 percent increases in 2021 and 2022.

The contract “was agreed upon during mediation and has been ratified by the Union and represents a fair compromise between the City and the Union in light of the current financial situation of the City,” according to city documents.

The agreement also includes an increase in employee contributions to insurance premiums that will go into effect on 2020. For PPOs, that contribution rises to 15 from 10 percent and to 12 from 10 percent for HMOs.

The city and union have also agreed to raise the annual education incentive to $2,000 from $1,900 until 2022 and reduce the maximum paid sick days to 420 from 440 hours beginning in 2021.

The contract will go into effect immediately and expire December 31, 2022.

“The four-year term will provide both parties with union security and stability,” according to city documents. “Furthermore, the lengthy term provides the City with the ability to properly and reasonably budget for salaries and expenses associated with these employees.”

Aldermen will also review and place on file the city’s 2019 First Quarter Financial Report.

In the city’s General Fund, revenues sit at 31.5 percent and expenses at 26.3 percent of budget. The revenue numbers are above the three month target of 25 percent due to first installment of property tax payments in March. According to city documents, 51 percent of property tax revenues have been received.

Heavy snow early in 2019 have resulted in high overtime spending in the Evanston Police Department, Evanston Fire Department and the Public Works Agency. As of March 31, the snow and ice business unit had expenses of $991,242 — 88.2 percent of the budget. Predicting poor conditions in November and December this year, city staff estimates expenses will be $300,000 over budget.

“Staff will continue to monitor these expenses closely as well as opportunities for savings in other areas,” staff said in city documents.

The city’s water fund is still in flux because of an ongoing suit between Evanston and Skokie. The city currently charges Skokie 78 cents per 1,000 gallons, but following litigation, hopes to increase that rate to $2.06, representing a possible increase in revenue.

As of March 31, the city’s Insurance Fund shows a negative fund balance of $10.5 million and a negative cash balance of $5.9 million. According to city documents, there were many high expenses in the first quarter from legal fees and settlements.

The city has been combatting a deficit totaling $7.4 million in the 2019 budget.

“I don’t think you would find anyone who would say it’s a perfect budget,” Mayor Steve Hagerty said at November 19 council meeting. “There is sacrifice that has been made across the board in terms of programs, as well as for taxpayers, but it’s good work that’s been done.”

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Twitter: @juliaesparza10