BPU Reaches Extension With Solid Waste Employees
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has reached a three-year extension with the Teamsters Local 264, who represent solid waste employees.
The board earlier this week approved the extension, which will last through 2021 because the current contract doesn’t expire until the end of 2018. The agreement was reached Friday, Sept. 8, and ratified on the same day by Teamsters Local 264. The BPU employees 11 full-time sanitation workers.
The extension provides average annual wage increases of 2.36 percent for current full-time tier one employees for the three years of the contract extension. Also included in the agreement is the consolidation of current tier two and tier three employees into a new tier two wage scale. In the last year of the agreement, 2021, tier one employees will be paid $20.40 per hour, while tier two employees will have a $16.40 per hour wage.
Negotiations resulted in the parties agreeing on continuation of the Teamsters health insurance plan coverage. The plan will result in no increase in total contributions by the BPU during the life of the agreement for employee health insurance benefits.
David L. Leathers, BPU general manager, said the agreement is fair for both the BPU and the hardworking employees of the solid waste division.
In other BPU business, the board passed two resolutions dealing with the dismantling of coal boilers No. 11 and 12. The one resolution dealt with BPU officials hiring International Chimney Inc. of Buffalo in the amount of $56,288 to repair the metal aprons on the bottom of the north and south stacks after it was discovered they were severely eroded. The BPU also received a bid for the work from Apollo Construction, the current demolition contractor for the dismantling of coal boilers No. 11 and 12. However, Apollo’s bid for the metal apron repairs was $68,238, which was $11,950 higher than International Chimney’s bid.
In the second resolution dealing with the dismantling project, the board approved change orders for Apollo to perform additional work. The change orders increased the amount the BPU is paying Apollo for the dismantling project from $5,265,224 to $5,406,464.
Leathers said as Apollo continues with the dismantling of the coal boilers and their precipitators, which they started in April, they are finding additional work that needs to be addressed. The dismantling is scheduled to be done by the end of November.
Leathers said 100 percent of the funding for the coal boilers dismantling project is coming from the dismantling fund. Since the 2005 electric rate case, BPU off-system sales in excess of $1,225,000 have been put into a dismantling fund. The dismantling fund was created to disassemble the coal-burning capabilities for the utility company.
The BPU also approved a new flex-rate agreement with SKF Group of Falconer. The new agreement is for four years. This is the seventh local manufacturer to have a flex-rate agreement with the BPU. The new agreement will go into effect when the current agreement expires at the end of October. The new agreement will run from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31, 2021.
The BPU’s Flex Rate program is an economic development tool used by the utility to assist area companies by slightly lowering energy costs in exchange for a manufacturer’s commitment to invest in its local facility and workforce. The flex-rate tariff was developed by the BPU and approved by the state Public Service Commission to help the Jamestown area attract new industry, and to support existing commercial and industrial customers. Participating manufacturers commit to retaining a certain number of jobs and to continue to invest in their facilities in exchange for reduced energy costs. The program is designed with the objectives of local economic preservation and development.
The BPU’s flex-rate program weighs the manufacturers’ commitments to refurbish or adding on to a facility, to expand product or production lines, to invest in technological advances in system processes and/or to invest in other projects deemed significant and appropriate by the utility. Other flex-rate manufactures include Anderson Precision; Artone; Hope’s Custom Crafted Windows & Doors; TitanX; Truck-Lite; and Monofrax.