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Legislature OKs 3-year CSEA contract

It took two years, but Genesee County's largest employee union has a new contract.

The three-year pact with Local 819, Civil Service Employees Association, was approved Wednesday by a unanimous vote of the Genesee County Legislature.

The contract. which affects 320 professional and office workers, is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006. It provides annual pay raises of 2.5 to 3 percent and an increase in employee contributions toward health insurance.

The terms are consistent with agreements reached in recent months with other county employee unions.

The local has been without a contract since the end of 2004. The Legislature rejected a fact-finder's recommendation late last year as too generous in benefits. Since then, workers have picketed Legislature meetings and put up signs seeking public support.

It took just one meeting after the fact-finder's report was turned down to reach agreement on the key issues -- wages and contributions to health care, according to personnel officials.

The Legislature also approved a 2007 list of capital projects. About a quarter of the $1 million plan will finance a sanitary sewer extension on Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia.

The $262,000 cost for the sewer that will serve the county airport, State Police headquarters and several new businesses would be paid by users based on property values. The county's share will come from the added 1 percent sales tax, which finances capital projects and debt reduction.

In other business, the Legislature:

* Authorized issuing bonds to pay for the new Sheriff's Administration Building now under construction on Park Road at the city's northwestern boundary. The cost, including furnishings, equipment and site improvements, is estimated at $9.65 million. Financing will come from a $3.5 million bond issue and the county's tobacco settlement proceeds.

* Approved a $53,000 contract with LINSTAR of Buffalo for security and access control at the new headquarters. The state-of-the-art system would include thumb-print access and security cameras.

* Designated the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce as the county's official tourist agency. A separate resolution will pay the Chamber $320,000 for publicity and tourism services for 2007.

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