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Roseville labor group will pay full pension share

Council approves agreement to have IBEW workers pay 8 percent employee share to CalPERS
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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A labor group in Roseville will soon have to start paying their full employee share of retirement.

The Roseville City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to require International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) employees to pay their full 8 percent share to CalPERS, effective Aug. 6. That cost is currently being picked up by the city.

Councilwoman Carol Garcia was absent.

“I have looked at this very carefully and I feel it’s important for us to move forward to reset what our compensation costs are for our pensions,” said Councilwoman Susan Rohan. “As times improve, we will be able to revisit these issues again, but we have to be realistic now.”

The city says the pension change will result in $450,000 savings in the 2011 calendar year. The city plans to negotiate similar concessions with the other employee groups.

The city manager, city attorney and all other management and confidential employees will begin paying the full 8 percent employee share to CalPERS starting in January. In 2013, all city employee contracts will be expired and the remaining labor groups will be asked to pay their full pension share, said City Treasurer Russ Branson.

Rising pension costs constitute an ongoing issue for government entities and municipalities are looking for ways to curb these costs.

“The public wants that to happen and we agree,” Branson told the Press Tribune.

IBEW 1245, which includes about 130 water, sewer and electrical workers, had been unwilling to agree to what amounts to an 8 percent pay cut, as upper management, including Roseville City Manager Ray Kerridge, will get a 3 percent raise this year.

The city and labor group began negotiating in October and held 16 negotiation sessions and three mediation sessions, but the two parties were unable to reach an agreement.

Union representative Patrick Waite said some workers are considering seeking employment elsewhere, which would create a long-term devastating impact on the city.

“The employees who work in utilities are skilled and experienced,” Waite said. “Other agencies in the immediate area would grab any available qualified and experienced electrical worker. The skill is in demand … the skill and experience is not easily replaced.”

IBEW member Sam Brown has decided to retire from Roseville and go work for Pacific Gas & Electric, “because I will be able to maintain my standard of living and increase my pay,” he said.

Here’s a look at some other items approved during the July 20 Roseville City Council meeting:

Reject all bids for Fire Station No. 9: Staff’s estimated budget for Fire Station No. 9 in the West Roseville Specific Plan is about $3.4 million. The lowest bid received is about $187,000 over budget. A 5 percent construction contingency puts the cost at $365,000 over budget. Staff will modify the station’s design to lower costs.

Tree pruning and maintenance services contract: The city awarded West Coast Arborists, Inc. with a contract to prune and maintain about 39,000 trees located in parks, landscapes and streetscapes, facilities, open spaces and municipal golf courses during a five-year period. Additional services include tree planting, tree removal, stump grinding and more. The maximum financial impact will be about $2.3 million over the next five years.

Agreement for Integrated Resource Plan: The plan will assist Roseville Electric in developing policies to address future unpredictable load growth, and new legislative and regulatory initiatives. Policies will cover reliability standards, renewable portfolio standards, greenhouse gas emissions, fuel diversity and more. Total cost for agreement with Nexant is not to exceed $70,000.

Economic Development Electric Rate: The rate was approved in 2008 to provide incentives over a two-year period for large companies to expand existing business or move a new business into Roseville. The customer must have a minimum of 10 gigawatt hours of new electric load per year to qualify.

Telefunken is eligible, and during the first year, the rate will result in a reduction in electricity consumption charges of 10 percent. In the second year, the reduction will be 5 percent. The rate will save Telefunken $1.4 million over the two years, and the impact to the city is in the form of unrealized revenue.

Wastewater flow reduction rebate agreement: The city and its regional partners in the South Placer Wastewater Authority have allocated funding in the amount of $40,000 for the 2011-12 fiscal year to assist with the Toilet and Washing Machine rebate programs. Roseville will receive $24,000 of these funds.

Used oil payment program grant application: Since 2006, the city has maintained a door-to-door disposal program that picks up used motor oils and filters, among other hazardous waste. This grant from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery helps local communities provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of these materials to reduce and prevent air, water and land contamination as a result of illegal oil dumping.

Sidewalk, curb and gutter repair project call for bids: The annual project repairs damaged sidewalks, curbs and gutters, which is estimated to cost $250,000. General Liability Insurance Funds will cover $80,000.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.