City workers get new contract, dilapidated buildings & blight trouble city council members

St. Louis City Council approved a new three-year contract with nine unionized workers on Tuesday.

The deal had already been ratified by union members earlier that day.

Nine people in the Department of Public Works and Water and Wastewater Department will receive 2 percent raises in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Current pay rates of $18.88, $21.64 and $23.23 per hour will go to $19.26, 22.07, and 23.69/hour on July 1.

Union members (represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 876) also receive an increase in the money they receive if they opt out of the city’s health insurance plan (from $1,000 to $1,150 per year). Currently, eight of the city’s 32 employees opt out of health insurance.

Union members also receive an increase in their twice-a-year clothing allowance from $350 to $400.

And they get “Opening Day of Michigan Firearms Deer Hunting Season” off as a paid holiday. This is a refinement of a change made in a past contract swapping a Veterans Day paid holiday with opening day of deer hunting season. The most recent change only makes the day off designation more specific.

A new contract for the city’s electrical workers is still being negotiated.

Problem buildings downtown

During council comments time, Councilman George Kubin raised the subject of two downtown buildings that need attention: The old bank building at corner of Mill and Saginaw and the flea market building across street from city hall.

“I think they’re fire hazards, both of them,” Kubin said. “They’re just full of junk.”

Old BankMayor Jim Kelly said that there was a list of things that needed attention when he was first elected to city council in 1999 and the old bank building is the only item on that list that hasn’t been addressed.

City Manager Kurt Giles said he is “looking into what other communities have done regarding unused or underutilized buildings” with an eye on eventually doing something with the old bank building.

Flea MktResidential blight

Speaking of problem properties, council members have recently lamented the state of a few unkempt residential properties, such as one on the corner of Saginaw and Pine.

“There have been instances where property owners in neighborhoods have been given time to come into compliance and make progress but do not fully comply and habitually fall back into the blight situation,” said City Manager Kurt Giles in an email. “In these cases, property owners are receiving notices of deadlines to become fully compliant or begin receiving citations and, if necessary, be subject to subsequent corrective actions.”


Mayor Jim Kelly, Vice Mayor Melissa Allen, council members George Kubin and Tom Reed and Jerry Church were present. There were no absences.


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4 replies »

  1. Just what your senior citizens need—–a rate increase for water and sewer—when does the electricity increase? just in time for the winter cold weather?


    • Water and sewer rates are likely to increase by 10 percent a year for 6-7 years beginning July 1, if city council goes ahead with the recommended water and sewer rate plan. Also, council is expected to extend the special assessment millage that it began last year to make ends meet. (That comes up at the June 5 meeting if you want to show up and say anything to council members.) The electric rate study hasn’t been competed yet, so we don’t know if those rates will rise or not.


  2. My comment is about the dilapidated buildings in the town of St Louis Michigan first of all my building at 301 Mill Street downtown St Louis was in disrepair when I purchased it for 20 years the city of St Louis let the building deteriorate with out doing a thing maybe it was because the owner was on the board I don’t know all I know is me and my husband spent our last penny to purchase a building to give my husband and I quality of life and do something for the community when we retire we have done numerous repairs and we have had an inspection from the city sure it’s going to take more than the six years I’ve been there to repair as far as what I sell in the building well it’s a little bit of everything and my old piece of junk stuff that I sell will burn just as fast as the stuff that you sell and I always said that when you put in a $450,000 building across the street from 140 year old historical building well yeah it’s going to be an eyesore and as far as the leaks in the smell in the building every year we repair the roof every year there is a new leak but not to the point of the building falling down it’s a pole barn made of steel and the old opera house well after a hundred and forty some years old you’d start to smell too and yeah Ralph I don’t make enough money in this town to pay you $60 an hour to wash my windows I’m sorry I couldn’t afford you


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