Delaware City Council on April 20 approved three-year proposed contracts with unionized police department patrol officers and supervisors in a 6-1 vote.

Delaware City Council on April 20 approved three-year proposed contracts with unionized police department patrol officers and supervisors in a 6-1 vote.

The Fraternal Order of Police, the officers' union, approved the contracts, which are retroactive to June 26, 2010, and binding through June 25, 2013.

Under the contract, employees will receive a 2-percent wage increase for each of the three years. Effective March 30, police officers in 2011 earn yearly salaries of $49,504 to $69,014. Sergeants earn yearly salaries of $73,840 to $79,372, and captains earn yearly salaries of $84,926 to $91,270.

The city in the previous contract contributed a sum equal to 10 percent of an officer's base wages toward pensions, said community affairs coordinator Lee Yoakum. The new contract eliminates that city contribution and increases police officers' base wages by 8.4 percent to compensate.

Yoakum said when the 2-percent wage hike, pension change and base pay increases are calculated, an officer who took home a net $52,044 under the old contract will take home a net $50,624.53 under the new plan.

Mayor Gary Milner said during the meeting that contract discussions started before Senate Bill 5 -- which will limit collective bargaining among public employees -- was signed by Gov. John Kasich.

Milner told ThisWeek any future difficulty with contract negotiations will depend on the future of Senate Bill 5, which he said probably will face a statewide referendum in November.

Vice Mayor Windell Wheeler voted against the two contracts. He told ThisWeek the city has many contracts and expenses that it can't afford in the future. He thought the raises were too high given the current economy, and said details of the contract should have been negotiated in a different manner.

Many people who have no jobs or low-paying jobs are unable "to continue supporting portions of Delaware the way that we're currently negotiating contracts," Wheeler said. "We're getting a big imbalance between many segments of our citizens."

Wheeler mentioned contract provisions that patrol officers and supervisors be paid three times the base hourly rate for the first hour and one and one-half times the base hourly rate for all other hours when they are called to work outside a regularly scheduled shift, including off-duty court appearances.

"I do not think that is fair to the taxpayers of the city of Delaware," Wheeler said.

The contract also includes:

Changes to the officers' monthly insurance contributions to $150 for family and $75 for single in April, to $160 for family and $80 for single in 2012, and to $170 for family and $85 for single in 2013. The previous contract limit was $140 for family and $70 for single.

A new schedule of four eight-hour days on, two days off. The previous schedule was six eight-hour days on, two days off. Officers also can cash in up to two weeks of compensatory time and receive equivalent pay during any calendar year.

Residency requirement changes. Officers were previously required to live within 30 miles of Delaware city limits, but they now are allowed to live within Delaware County or any adjacent county.

Minor changes to vacation time and sick leave. The minimum increment for vacation request will be changed from five to four consecutive work days. Following sick leave, an employee will be assigned to light duty pending the city physician's final fitness determination.

In other city news:

The city owes between $200,000 and $350,000 to the Internal Revenue Service for interest earned on money borrowed for Glenn Parkway projects. Finance director Dean Stelzer said the specific amount hasn't been determined yet. The city initially borrowed $5.07 million in July 2005 for preliminary and final design work for the road and land acquisition costs. In May 2006 the city borrowed an additional $7.5 million for construction. The IRS limits the investment earnings gained on money borrowed.

The city has been named a Tree City USA community for the 30th consecutive year by the nonprofit conservation organization the National Arbor Foundation for its commitment to community forestry. The city will observe Arbor Day April 29 with the presentation of the city's annual Beautification Award and a ceremonial tree planting at 4 p.m. at Bicentennial Park, near the Wilbur Bills Fire Station, 99 S. Liberty St. The tree was donated by The Arbors nursing facility. The city's Shade Tree Commission named Willow Brook Christian Village at Delaware Run as this year's recipient of the annual Beautification Award.

Council heard city resident Traci Cromwell say it was premature for council member Andrew Brush to say the city might cut jobs to make up for the loss in state local government funds. Brush had discussed the possibility of personnel cuts during a finance committee meeting on April 14.