Town reaches important agreement
And they’re probably right. Though the $700,000 annual cost reduction aspect of the deal may seem like chump change, there’s one thing everybody can agree on: When it comes to saving money, anything is better than nothing.
This deal has been a long time coming, as informal contract discussions began in 2009 and formal negotiations started in 2010. The agreement was approved by the TCEA’s membership last week and will be placed before councilmembers at Monday’s town board meeting. We can only hope that the board votes in favor of the agreement, which reduces both contractually obligated staffing numbers and costs -- two measures that will lead to significant savings for the town over the years.
The town’s minimum levels of employment requirements have been brought up at past town board meetings and in last year’s elections, with some adamant in their views about the need to reduce. This contract will reduce the contractually required staffing number from 250 to 225. It’s a win-win situation, in a sense.
The Sanitation Department’s work was also an issue some residents have been concerned with, so town leaders took the matter into consideration and decided to make changes. Now, residential sanitation routes will be reduced from nine to eight, and commercial container routes will be reduced from two to one. This reduction will allow the town to eliminate five full-time positions in the Sanitation Department, another cost saver for the town. Another win-win situation, in a sense.
Health insurance for town employees, too, will see its share of changes. These changes could cut premium costs by more than 50 percent. Again, it’s another win-win – in a sense.
New town employee hires will see an average annual wage reduction of $2,500 for their first six years of employment – another cost cutter. And the town will also have greater flexibility to use temporary employees to fill certain positions, further reducing costs. More win-wins, in a sense.
The reasons why these components of the agreement are “somewhat” win-win situations is because in order to achieve savings, sacrifices must be made. Things will change, people will lose jobs, town employees will have to give in order for others to reap benefits. But that’s what the deal is all about – making changes in an effort to help out the taxpayer.
And bettering the situations of Cheektowaga taxpayers is important; it’s the reason why this deal went down.
If anything, residents should realize that the town has been listening to their concerns and putting forth efforts to address them. This agreement could have been completely different – it could have been less flexible, it could have called for less modifications and cost reduction – but town leaders seemed to know that residents were ready for a change. So they decided to do something about it.
Hopefully, residents who learn of this agreement will see that it was drafted according to their best interests. Although some people will lose their jobs and/or benefits of their jobs, this agreement will ultimately better the town’s financial situation.
And that’s what’s important – making changes so that the greatest amount receives the greatest outcome. Like with anything else, sometimes you must give in order to receive, and that’s exactly what this agreement is – a number of people giving so that more people can ultimately benefit. This agreement is something the town has been waiting for; it’s something the town has needed.
When the deal is placed before the town board for approval on Monday, let’s hope that it passes. This agreement is just one change that town residents have been waiting for.
The town is becoming the change it wants to see, and that’s definitely a good thing.