The City of Redwood Falls has 65 full-time employees.

As of this past Tuesday (Dec. 4), those employees are under contract for the next three years.

During its first regularly scheduled meeting of December, the city council approved three year agreements with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Law Enforcement Labor Services (LELS) and Redwood Falls Public Employees Association (RFPEA) unions.

According to Keith Muetzel, who presented the agreements to the city council, negotiations were predicated on the direction of the council for staff to try and negotiate three-year agreements with minimal impact on the benefits being offered and no more than a 3 percent increase in wages for each year of the contracts that were approved.

Muetzel said staff met with each bargaining committee to discuss proposed changes to the existing contract, and at the close of those discussions each group agreed to a 3 percent COLA increase for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Muetzel said the IBEW, which represents the public utilities linemen and power plant employees, the LELS, which represents police officers and sergeants, and the RFPEA, which represents full-time employees in the street water and liquor departments, all approved the proposed agreements. 

Those agreements were then approved by the city council, with votes of 4-1 for the IBEW, with Paul DeBlieck voting against, 4-1 for the LELS, with DeBlieck voting against, and 5-0 for the RFPEA.

The contracts are effective Jan. 1, 2019 and remain in place through Dec. 31, 2021.

In addition the council approved agreements for non-union employees, including full-time, part-time and seasonal workers. Under the agreement, part-time and seasonal employees will see a 25 cent per hour COLA increase for 2019-21, with park and recreation positions of community center CSR /building supervisor and the part-time community center building maintenance staff members receiving and additional 25 cents per hour increase.

Sheila Stage, human resources coordinator for the city, indicated these positions are hard to fill because of the nature of the work. The agreement includes a $1 increase in the hourly rate for members of the fire department taking them from $8.25 to $9.25 per hour.

An addition to the agreement also includes a step pay plan increase of 50 cents per hour for part-time liquor store clarks, as Stage added this is an effort to try and retain employees in these positions. The increase will take effect for each employee on their employment anniversary date. Stipends for licenses for non-union employees also increase by 3 percent per year for the three-year agreement.

Mayor Corey This commended the work of city staff in accomplishing the task of reaching the agreements with city employees.

In other action during its meeting, the council:

• Approved the employment of Marie Evans to the position of customer service specialist at a salary of $35,149.92, with a step increase scheduled following successful completion of a six-month probationary period.

• Approved the issuance of a license to Emily Moseng of Redwood Chiropractic to conduct therapeutic massage for the remainder of 2018.

• Approved repayment in the amount of $26,000 to the City of Buffalo as part of the city’s entitlement funding allocation for 2019 from the FAA. The city borrowed the funds from Buffalo to help cover the cost of the seven-bay hangar project. The city still has other funds it must pay back from the project.

• Approved the purchase of a new squad car for the Redwood Falls Police Department. The vehicle, a 2019 Chevy Tahoe, will be purchased from Marthaler Chevrolet, at a cost of $35,645.75. According to Jason Cotner, Redwood Falls police chief, the bid has an increased cost of $131, which he said will include work done to the vehicle that will make the installation of equipment for the squad easier. The city council also approved several license applications for 2019:

• Cigarette and other tobacco products for Tersteeg’s Inc., Wal-Mart, Inc. #1865 and the Farmers Coop Company of Renville doing business as Cenex.

• Off-sale 3.2 malt liquor for Wal-Mart, Inc. #1865

• On-sale 3.2 malt liquor for the Redwood County Ag Society

• On-sale liquor for Las Lomas, Inc. doing business as Plaza Garibaldi

• On-Sale Sunday liquor for Las Lomas, Inc. doing business as Plaza Garibaldi

• Solid waste hauling – commercial – for Southwest Sanitation, Inc. and West Central Sanitation, Inc.

• Solid Waste hauling – residential – for West Central Sanitation, Inc.

• Therapeutic massage for the Mind Body and Spirit Wellness Center (Shawn Dixon) and River-bend Therapeutic Massage (Tammy Tordsen)