Powell's negotiations with the bargaining units in its police department have resulted in fewer base pay increases at lower rates and larger employee contributions to health insurance premiums.

Powell’s negotiations with the bargaining units in its police department have resulted in fewer base pay increases at lower rates and larger employee contributions to health insurance premiums.

City council on Sept. 20 approved the two contracts with police officers and sergeants, expiring June 30, 2014. They replace contracts that expired June 30, 2011.

Officers will receive a total of 4 percent in base-pay increases over the term of the contract, down from the previous contract’s cumulative base-pay increase of 10.14 percent.

The sergeants over the course of the new contract will receive a total of 4.76 percent in base-pay increase, down from the previous contract’s cumulative base-pay increase of 7.16 percent.

The bargaining units, under the Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council, also agreed to increased contributions to health insurance premiums.

“The officers were very cognitive of the (economic) environment we’re in and were willing to work with the city and negotiations were pretty easy and both sides were not far apart when we started,” said Police Chief Gary Vest. “Everyone was willing to work hard to get a good contract.”

The sergeants’ contract covers three employees.

The pact begins with a base-pay hourly wage for sergeants of $37.87, the pay they received after a 3-percent increase given Jan. 1, 2011, under the expired contract. They’ll receive a 2.25-percent base-pay increase on July 1, 2012, and a 2.45-percent in 2013.

Their base pay at the end of the new contract will be $39.68 per hour.

The police officers’ contract covers 12 employees.

The contract with police officers begins July 1, 2011, with a starting pay of $23.03 per hour and a step five pay, the highest available base pay, of $33.30 per hour. Those pay rates were established July 1, 2010, under the previous contract.

The contract includes a 1-percent increase to all the hourly rates in January 2012 and again July 2012. In July 2013, the officers will receive a 2-percent increase, ending the contract with a step-one rate of $23.97 per hour and a step five hourly rate of $34.65.

Pay increases for steps two through five are given annually on the employee’s anniversary date.

Both contracts include an increase in the “shift differential” pay. Beginning July 1, 2012, that special pay, given if employees work half or more of their shift between 2 p.m. and 6 a.m, is an additional 85 cents per hour. It currently is 75 cents per hour.

Both contracts include increased employee contributions to health insurance premiums. Currently, employees contribute 7 percent. In July 2012 and 2013, it will increase to 11 and 13-percent, respectively. The 13 percent cost in 2013 will be $90 per month for single coverage and $200 for family coverage.

The city provided wage comparisons for 14 other communities in central Ohio, including Bexley, Dublin, Delaware, Worthington and Grandview Heights.

Powell police officer wages were the sixth-lowest of 14 communities. The city’s police sergeant wages were third lowest of the 14 communities.