• Megann Horstead

Joliet, AFSCME content with pact


The city council and the union representing city workers reached an agreement continuing work relations to 2019.

In an 8-0 vote, the Joliet City Council adopted an ordinance at their Feb. 21 meeting approving and authorizing the agreement with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for 2016 to 2019.

City Manager Jim Hock said though it took time to reach the point at which officials could approve this measure, all sides agree they’re content with the outcome.

“They had some unique changes with engineers, inspectors and planners being included… into the master agreement,” he said. “We provided updates with salary tables for all these new positions and did some clarifications on language.”

Master contract settlement agreement talks date back to February 2016, at which time the city and each of the six bargaining unions were looking to solidify specific terms.

Of the new terms, the council approved a series of items and they include:

▪Four-year term from 2016 to 2019 with no raises in 2016 and 2017, and an increase of two percent in 2018 and 2019

▪Current healthcare plan extension from 2021 and 2030

▪No lay-off guarantee for the duration of the agreement

▪Provision to reinstate residency for new hires

▪Agreement to address ancillary issues separately for each contract

Since that time, city officials have ironed out the remaining details of the agreement with AFSCME Local 440 union. That review resulted in the updating of dates and salary tables and the addition of language adjustments negotiated in the master agreement.

Additionally, negotiations included wage tables and job descriptions for positions recently added to the union.

Contract for mosquito abatement program approved

To address concerns for West Nile Virus, Joliet approved a contract for mosquito abatement.

The city will pay Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management $32,400 for the Natular tablets they utilize to treat approximately 6,750 manholes, catch basins and inlets throughout Joliet. That service is intended to eliminate the species of mosquitos carrying West Nile Virus.

Clarke Environmental Mosquito has been the lone bidder for the contract in recent years.

Joliet accepts grant funding to address water quality issues

Joliet approved a memorandum of understanding to solidify the city’s intent to accept grant funding to address water quality issues.

As a member of the Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group, the city is working to reduce non-point source pollution, attain water quality, improve habitat, and address current and future water quality regulations that can be enforced through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or MS4 permits.

There are plans to install best management practices in the vicinity of Joliet’s utility department garage at 921 Washington St and they include: streambank stabilization to reduce erosion and installation of a vortex separator to reduce sedimentation.

The Environmental Protection Agency is extending a 319 grant to assist with the $105,000 project cost by providing 60 percent reimbursement.

Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group recently prepared and submitted the city’s grant application to the EPA; it was approved.

The Hickory Creek Watershed Planning Group will administer the grant. The memorandum of understanding outlines the city’s responsibilities.

Amendment OK’d to resume work on combined sewer project

While construction of the city’s wet weather treatment facility is set to begin in May, the project’s scope increased since the professional services agreement was issued.

Joliet officials took action to approve amendment No. 3 reinstating a contract with Strand Associates at a cost of $360,000.

The combined sewer overflow elimination project dates back to 2012, at which time Joliet officials were examining options for planning, design and construction services related to the city’s long-term control plan, which is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following that, two amendments were approved for additional services not included in the original contract.

Strand Associates is now under contract for long-term control plan Phase III wet weather treatment facility to provide construction administration services.

The city said they need additional funds for a vehicle storage building, larger clarifiers, a portion of the eastside relief sewer and McKinley Road construction. To add, more construction administration services will be needed as well as an allowance for electrical and instrumentation site visits, officials said.

These additions will extend the construction schedule by 15 months.

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