The Waupaca County Finance and Personnel Committee rejected a union proposal Tuesday to extend the current contract for another year.
The Waupaca County American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) asked the county to consider a plan to extend the current contract. The current contract is set to expire at the end of 2011. Union locals asked that it be extended through 2012.
In exchange for extending the contract, AFSCME offered to pay 2.8 percent of their wages toward their pension benefits for the remainder of 2011.
The locals making the proposal represent employees at the courthouse, the highway department, the jail and Lakeview Manor.
Waupaca County Personnel Director Amanda Welch estimated the county would save $281,350 in 2011 if it approved the union’s proposal.
Currently, the county pays all employee contributions toward the Wisconsin Retirement System. Under the recently enacted state law, all public sector workers will be required to pay 5.8 percent of their wages toward retirement once their current contracts expire.
AFSCME also agreed to pay a total of 5.8 percent in pension costs in 2012 under the extended contract.
The Finance Committee voted unanimously to reject the offer and it was not brought before the Waupaca County Board.
“We may lose some flexibility in the coming years by doing this now,” said County Chairman Dick Koeppen. “We think it’s best to maintain the status quo for now and deal with the contract next year.”
Koeppen said county supervisors do not know what to expect from the next state budget.
Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposes cutting shared revenues to counties by $36.5 million in 2012 in order to balance the state’s projected $3.6 billion deficit.
The proposed budget also reduces the allowable tax levy increase from 3 percent to zero percent or the net increase in valuation due to new construction.
The bill is still moving through the state legislative process.
“Everything is in flux, right now,” Koeppen said. “Nothing is written in stone in Madison, yet.”