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Contracts call for 3 percent raises for county workers

Agreements reached by negotiators would give 140 Pierce County union workers three percent increases in each of three years and would gradually raise the share employees pay for health insurance.

The contracts--for 55 workers in the courthouse union, 55 in the highway union and 30 Human Services Department support staff--are expected to go to union members for a vote this week.

If approved by workers, the contracts will come to the county board for adoption July 22.

All three contracts call for two percent increases effective Jan. 1, 2008; one percent increases on July 1, 2008; two percent increases Jan. 1, 2009; one percent increases July 1, 2009; two percent increases Jan. 1, 2010; and one percent increases July 1, 2010.

The union employees are now paying eight percent of health insurance premiums. Under the new contracts, that would increase to nine percent Jan. 1, 2009, and to 10 percent Jan. 1, 2010.


During its monthly meeting Tuesday, the county board voted to rezone 38.39 acres owned by Donna Nesbitt from General Rural Flexible to Light Industrial.

The rezoning will allow Nesbitt's Nursery in the Town of Oak Grove to expand its operation.

The business provides spruce trees, apples and apple-related products to both wholesale and retail customers.

According to the Land Management Committee staff report, in 2004 the Nesbitts got a conditional use permit to operate a nursery business on land along Hwy. 35. The report says the apple trees are now producing crops that require additional building space for processing.

Operation Manager Lee Nesbitt plans to build a 56 ft. by 88 ft. metal cold-storage building behind the existing commercial building.

Other rezoning

First reading was given to two other zoning changes that will be voted on July 22. They are:

--A revision to county code that would amend a section applying to commercial warehouse and storage to delete a requirement that all warehouses and storage sheds be on concrete slabs. The change would apply only to seasonal boat and vehicle storage.

Land Management Committee Member Jeff Holst said this change was requested by a company that stores boats. Operators said all fluids are drained from the boats prior to storage and that it's best not to store classic vehicles on cement.

--A request from Randall and Darla Girdeen to rezone 39.97 acres in the Town of Salem from Exclusive Agriculture to General Rural.

The rezoning would increase the allowable lot density from one to four.

According to the staff report, the Girdeens asked for rezoning because "the land has not been historically used for ag purposes and should not have been zoned Exclusive Ag."