York County approves deal with union, spends $10K on chairs

Greg Gross

The York County commissioners approved a union contract with about 190 of its employees, spent nearly $10,000 on six office chairs and preserved farmland during a busy commissioner's meeting on Wednesday.

The ergonomic chairs, which cost $1,516 each, will replace six heavily used ones at the 911 center.

Each of the 50 chairs in the center is used 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by dispatchers and receives 70,000 hours of use during its eight-year lifespan, said Eric Bistline, executive director of the county's Department of Emergency Services.

"Those chairs see a lot of use," he said.

Commissioners approved the $9,376 deal with Evans Consoles, Inc. of Virginia, plus $280 shipping, for the six chairs. The money will come from fees charged to telephone users and used to support 911 center operations, said Carl Lindquist, the county spokesman.

Contract: The collective bargaining agreement between the county and union employees of its Area Agency on Aging and Children, Youth and Families departments includes yearly pay increases and additional out-of-pocket medical costs for the employees.

It is also retroactive to the start of 2015, Emily Strickhouser, a labor analyst with the county, told the commissioners.

The employees will receive a 2.25 percent pay raise for 2015, a 2.4 percent increase this year and 2.5 percent increases in 2017 and 2018, she said.

The employees' co-pays have increased, and those with spouses on the county's health care plan will be charged a $30 a month surcharge, Strickhouser said.

Susan Byrnes, the president commissioner, said the contract is a "very fair deal for everyone."

Farmland: Also during the meeting, commissioners approved a $14,000 easement to preserve 22 acres of farmland in Warrington Township.

"It's a very nice small farm," said Sean Kenny, executive director of the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County.

The county doesn't actually own the land but rather buys easements, which prevents land from being developed into, for example, a housing development.

In January, commissioners allocated  $221,309 for preservation. This year's round of county funding will come from three different streams. About $71,000 is from Clean & Green Rollback interest, $50,000 is from the county Solid Waste Authority, and the remaining $100,000 is from the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund, which is funded through impact fees charged to natural gas drilling companies.

At that level of funding, the county expected to see a $1.2 million state match, Patty McCandless, director of the county Agricultural Land Preservation Board, had said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.