New Trenton police contract ratified, including raises

The city of Trenton has a new three-year deal with its police union that will cost about $34,000 annually, and to give parity the city council also approved 3 percent pay hikes to non-union staff.

For several years the city council has wanted to treat all of its employees equally, according to Finance Director Mike Engel, so non-union employees also received pay increases on Feb. 6 when the union contract was ratified.

“The city has had a practice in recent years that when we do award a cost of living increase to the unions the city council has very graciously agreed to give that same percentage to the rest of employees,” Engel said. “So for everybody, including the police it’s $115,000.”

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The police also get longevity bumps which amount to $300 after five years of service and in increments of $35 each year after.

Police Chief Arthur Scott said he is happy the deal is sealed.

“We’re always happy when they get settled, that’s kind of a practice you go through because you have to,” Scott said. “It’s nice to get that taken care of and everybody can move forward and get it off their minds.”

The union president could not be reached for comment.

The 2020 appropriation shows expenditures just shy of $3 million in the police levy fund and personnel costs amount to nearly $2 million.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the 5.25 mill permanent levy in March 2016 by a 60-to-40 percent margin. The primary purpose of the levy was to hire five new police officers over time.

City Manager Marcos Nichols said the negotiation started a little late but it only took five meetings to reach the new agreement. The old contract expired in December.

A lot of the new contract is basically “clean-up” according to Nichols, like switching longevity pay from a lump sum to an additional hourly rate, “we wanted to make sure that what we had in the contract follows what we do in practice.”

Nichols said the importance of the new contract is “really it’s just getting it done and getting the stability in place for our residents, that we have this in place for the next three years.”

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