HOOKSETT — Although hours of negotiation couldn’t produce a multi-year contract, the Town Council and the Hooksett Police Union managed to forge a one-year deal, which will go before voters on May 13.
The pact represents a $52,515 increase over the previous fiscal year, which breaks down into $40,697 for salary raises and an additional $11,818 in benefits.
Town Administrator Dean Shankle said the contract represents an overall increase of 2 percent, which breaks down to a tax bump of 3 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation, or $7.50 on a $250,000 home.
Town Council Chairman James Sullivan said the compromise is beneficial to Hooksett residents and the police union.
“It allows us to maintain our great police force and provides them with an increase in their wages that is economically sound for the taxpayers,” he said. “The one-year agreement will allow (the police deal) to align with the other union contracts, which will give us the opportunity to discuss health insurance benefits and the plans we provide to our valuable town employees all at the same time.”
Union President Brian Williams, a Hooksett detective, said police were seeking a two- or three-year agreement, but settled for a one-year accord in the interest of having a contract in place for the upcoming year.
“This contract will be used as a building block for future contracts. For us, the main goal was being competitive with other local municipalities that we were significantly lower than in starting pay,” he said. “We have a good department, we have good officers, and we don’t want to keep losing them to other agencies that pay more.”
With the primary goal accomplished, Williams said, the next step is securing a multiyear deal.
“We have some other things we’d like to see addressed,” he said. “Based on these negotiations, we’re hoping we can move forward and do what’s best to serve the citizens of Hooksett.”
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