The Beadle County Commission has declared an impasse in negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees which represents Beadle County employees, regarding wages and insurance.
States Attorney Mike Moore, who represents the county says several meetings were held between the county and AFSCME between June and September of this year.
Moore says the county is in a difficult position, faced with the need to maintain quality employees in a period of low economic growth
Moore explains what an impasse means for future negotiations
In 2015 Beadle County and the union entered into a three year contract but left wages open in years 2017 and 2018. In April AFSCME provided notice that in addition to wages they wanted to renegotiate the health insurance part of the contract.
The County’s says the offer of $75 on insurance and 1% raise , which equates to $34.67/month or .20/hour, is based on the expected ability to fund wages and benefits to employees. Beadle County received no increase in the Consumer Price Index in 2016 and 2017 and is projected to receive a 1% CPI increase in 2018. The 1% CPI equals approximately $50,000 in increased revenue for Beadle County.
Beadle County Commission Chair Tom Hansen. “This obviously is not a sustainable position for Beadle County to be in.” “Beadle County is aware of the need to maintain quality employees and to compensate them fairly.” However, “Beadle County is also aware that the residents of Beadle County have one of the highest tax burdens in the State specifically those taxpayers that live within the city of Huron.” Beadle County is currently in a tax opt-out for $300,000 per year.