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Union deals top budget cap

Tentative one-year contract agreements reached with two Evanston city employee unions exceed the 2.5 percent payroll increase limit aldermen adopted for this year’s city budget.

A deal with the firefighters union calls for cost-of-living and longevity pay increases totalling just over 3.8 percent.

An agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees calls for cost-of-living and longevity pay increases totalling just under 2.9 percent.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons is recommending that the cost differences be made up by reducing the city manager’s contingency fund and the budgets of the affected departments.

Unions have typically received 5 percent in cost-of-living and longevity pay increases in each year of recent multi-year agreements with the city.

Lyons said the new deals include much lower percentage increases than "comparable organizations" and that the short term of the agreements will let the city go back to the bargaining table next year.

Based on economic projections, "we still do not anticipate a healthy economy" then, Lyons said, and if that proves true, the city will have "better comparable data from other communities" by that time.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the agreements Monday night.

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