Suffolk County Legislature Approves New PBA and EMHP Contracts
The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved (18-0) the recently negotiated PBA (Police Benevolet Association) and EMHP (Employee Medical Health Plan) contracts. According to County Executive Bellone the PBA contract breaks the cycle of arbitration that has existed in this County for the past 20 years. This vote saves the Suffolk County taxpayer $54.9 million in retroactive payments to the PBA, according to the County Executive. It also provides the following:
New police officers will pay 15% into their health care in addition to a lower starting salary for new police officers of $42,000 that remains at that level through the term of the agreement. The agreement also doubles the amount of time it takes a police officer to reach top pay, increasing it to 12 years as compared to the current 5 years to reach top pay.
Bellone also states that these two approvals provide more than $70 million in savings for 2013, a continual savings of $17 million per year in the EMHP plan through 2020 and made it more affordable for the hiring of future officers which allows elected officials to make public safety decisions based on the merits versus pitting law enforcement against one another.
The proposed Suffolk County 2013 budget includes an approximate 2.6% police tax increase for the western Suffolk Townships, including Huntington, to cover the increased cost of police services.