By Clifton Adcock

Eight months into the fiscal year, the Oklahoma City Council approved at its March 1 meeting a long-negotiated contract with the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Similar to the local Fraternal Order of Police contract approved in December, it keeps in place most provisions from the previous year’s contract. However, it increases the city’s insurance contribution from $9,500 to $10,540 per employee participating in IAFF’s health and welfare benefits plans.

The cost of the contract, which expires June 30, is approximately $82.8 million. That’s an increase of a little more than $1 million from last year’s contract, which is largely a result of the insurance contribution increase, as well as retirement and overtime costs.

The FOP contract approved in December was about $1.3 million more than the previous year, and totaled around $96 million.

City Manager Jim Couch said the city will retroactively pay the increased contribution to the firefighter’s insurance plan. That increase brings the firefighters in line with what the city contributes to other city employees’ health insurance plans.

Couch told the council that it is not likely the increase would significantly impact the city’s budget.

Couch and council members cautioned, however, about increasing expenditures until more data about the city’s sales tax growth comes in.

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.

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