Galesburg, IL – Galesburg has agreed to a new three year contract with the Fire Department.
The city will give firefighters a 3.25 percent raise for each of the next three years, which will cost the city about $67,000 the first year.
At the same time, it's requiring those with individual health insurance to contribute a monthly $40 premium. They currently aren't required to contribute.
Mayor Sal Garza says that's money the city is no longer responsible for.
"Over a span of 30 years, we're contributing about $26 million to that fund," says Garza. "In today's dollars, we're looking at saving potentially anywhere from $2.2 million up to $2.6 million [over the next 30 years] by making a 17 percent reduction."
The city is also changing how it pays health insurance costs for retired employees. At present, the city pays for retired firefighters' healthcare until age 65. Under the new contract, Galesburg will contribute $1,000 plus 0.25 percent of annual salary. The changes will take effect for firefighters hired after the contract takes effect in January.
Garza says the savings in health care contributions will far outweigh the cost of the salary increases.
To listen to a conversation with Mayor Garza, click play on the audio link above.