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City of Sparks Approves Labor Contracts


The Sparks City Council this week approved several labor contracts which will bring hundreds of employees back to the amount of pay and benefits they received before the recession took its toll. The changes are effective this month, but the city has not yet budgeted for the $1.7 million expense to its general fund. Spokesperson Adam Mayberry says that a plan to cover that bill is still in the works and may involve finding new revenue, cutting services, or lowering the city's ending fund balance.In the meantime, employees are letting out their sighs of relief."The uncertainty of the economic climate over the last several years has had a damaging effect on the overall morale. And at some point we need to give back to our employees what they've sacrificed."The pay and benefit cuts have been in place since 2008, after the city conducted early buyouts, a hiring freeze, and layoffs. Since 2007, the city's workforce size has shrunk by 1/3 to 450 employees.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.