The Cass County Board of Supervisors set Dec. 12th and 19th as the dates for public hearings on an amendment to the Division of Taxes ordinance pertaining to the Amaizing Energy “Urban Renewal Area/TIF District. The amendment calls for the removal of certain parcels of land from the URA/TIF District, which Auditor Dale Sunderman says would be advantageous to the county, since they have already decreased in value. Another benefit would be to conserve what economic development incentives are available. The Board is currently waiting on legal advice before the amendment is redrafted and presented at the public hearings.
In other business, the board was asked by a member of the public about current efforts at reaching an agreement with County Employees in the Public, Professional and Maintenance Employee’s Union (PPME), which represents the County’s Secondary Roads Department. In October, the Board received the Union’s initial bargaining proposal, which was rejected. The following week, the County presented its initial proposal, and the two sides went into closed door session later to try and hash things out.
Efforts to reach an agreement are currently in Mediation. The board was asked if it goes into arbitration, how much “Power” does the Supervisor hold to try and reign in the Union’s request for a seven-percent rate increase for the first-year of the contract. They also called for a 4-percent increase across the board the second-year of the contract, and a 3-percent increase for the third-year, effective July, 2013, for a total increase of 14-percent increase over a three-year period. Supervisor’s Gaylord Schelling and Mark Wedemeyer are in on the negotiations, representing the County. Schelling said the next meeting is on the 17th of December. The next step he says would be binding arbitration.
Wedemeyer said if the County is forced by the arbitrator to meet the demands of the Union, and not reach a compromise, there would likely be job reductions. He said the only thing they could do is to fund a certain portion to the department, until it comes to budget time. Schelling said the arbitrator will likely take into consideration what the level of pay is in other Counties the size of Cass, and what both sides are offering for those wages, when making a determination as to what the percentages should be.