Waterloo public safety unions reject contract reopening - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo public safety unions reject contract reopening

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Money matters are forcing public budgets to be stretched thin next year.  This time of year, cities and counties across Iowa are being forced to make tough decisions about budgets.  In Waterloo, public safety unions said no to one money-saving proposal from city leaders.  At Waterloo City Hall, city leaders are looking for ways to save money.  The mayor says there's no avoiding a nearly three percent tax hike.

"My goal from the beginning is to maintain the services we have now and not lose any bodies or people," said Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark.

So he asked the city's unions to re-open contract talks to save the city about $300,000.  Public safety unions rejected that idea.

"It's our feelings that once those contracts are signed, we live by that and like I said before, it's a slippery slope to start opening those contracts up," said Waterloo Police Protective Association president Randy Chapman.

The police union made its deal with the city 11 months ago.  Members will get a 3% raise this year.

"The economic conditions have not changed that much. This should not be a surprise to anybody. We're public servants and this is the method we negotiate for our raises," said Chapman.

"The idea of reopening the wage was just an idea. They did not take that. Am I disappointed? Sure. But it's absolutely their right and there is no hard feelings, animosity, no retribution of any kind, it was just an idea that didn't work," said Clark.

Clark says he'll ask city department heads to find a way to trim their budgets to close the gap - without cutting jobs.  The city council will take a look at those ideas Thursday.  They'll vote to pass a budget March 8th.  That's a week before the state deadline for municipalities.

Online Anchor/ReporterBob Waters

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