Up to $1,000 per month now paid to city employee health insurance; 2020 pay hikes at 4 percent

By Louis Hoglund

A two year salary pact between the Pelican Rapids City Council and the union representing police officers was approved at the Feb. 11 city council meeting. 

Key to the new contract is an increase in health insurance and health savings account benefits.  The police officers are the only city employees that have union representation.  

City officials approached the contract with an underlying plan to create more of a “career” opportunity for officers.  Insurance benefits may be a factor in what was described as a “revolving door” of cops serving briefly in Pelican, and moving on–some for less than a year. 

City hall staff will receive comparable increases following the settlement of the police contract. The council’s past practice is to closely parallel the wage-salary-benefit package of the union police contract, with the non-union city staff.  

Under terms of the agreement, the city will contribute up to $1,000 a month toward health insurance in 2020. In 2021, it will rise to up to $1,200 a month. The city had been providing up to $700 a month for health insurance.

In addition, the city will match $50 a month toward a Health Savings Account, for a single employee; and $100 a month for a family–starting in 2021. 

 Also approved was a 4 percent wage increase for 2020; and a 3 percent increase for 2021.  

The “night differential,” which is customary for police officers who patrol at night, was also  increased.  Previously, it was an additional 65 cents per hour; and will be $1.00 per hour. 

Wages were also increased, in an effort to retain part time officers.  In 2021, part time patrol officers will receive $24.93.  In 2022, the part time wage will be $25.68. 

Non-union city staff will also be approved for the 4 percent pay hike, retroactive to Jan. 1.  

The increase in the city’s contribution to health insurance premiums will be in effect March 1.  

The police officer benefit of $50 or $100 per month match to a Health Savings Account will not apply to non-union employees, though it is anticipated that it will be implemented to all staff for 2021.  

The benefits will have minimal impact on the city’s 2020 budget, as the city had already projected the 4 percent wage increases across board in the budget–which was approved in December 2019.