White Plains Council Okays Firefighters Contract and Higher Water Rates
The White Plains Common Council voted unanimously on Nov. 4 to approve a new contract with its firefighters and higher water rates.
Corporation Counsel John Callahan said the new contract with the Professional Firefighters Association is for three years, beginning retroactively from July 1, 2018. There will be a 1/4-percent raise for the first year of the new pact and 3 percent raises in each of the final two years of the agreement, he said. Another part of the contract will allow qualified firefighters to retire as early as age 55, without losing a portion of their pensions, he said. The previous contract required firefighters to work until the age of 62.
Mayor Tom Roach thanked the union and city employees for the work on the contract.
The provision to lower the potential retirement age to 55 “had to make sense financially for the city,” Roach said.
Also at last week’s meeting the Common Council approved the new water rates for 2020 by 3.9 percent at the request of Commissioner of Public Works Richard Hope.
Hope said he was asking for a 3.9 percent water rate increase “across the board” including the sewer charge. The rate increase is the lowest in 14 years, he said. The low rate increase is being proposed even though New York City has raised the rate for water use by municipalities by 9.2 percent, he said.
The water rate increase would raise about $732,000 in new revenue in the water fund annually, Hope said.
Hope said he was asking for the rate increase to pay the debt service for borrowing for existing and new debt for capital projects to protect the city’s water and to pay for the New York City DEP’s 9.2 percent hike in July.