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City needs health plan concessions to avoid budget cuts

Oct. 5, 2011

Greenfield and its firefighters have about two weeks to reach an agreement on a health insurance plan before the city has to consider making 2012 budget adjustments that could affect other departments.

Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke delivered that message to the Common Council on Tuesday night, noting that service reductions, layoffs in all areas including public safety and reductions in benefits for non-emergency employees might be necessary.

The Greenfield Firefighters Association had asked Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Maxine White for a 30-day delay in implementation of a change in health insurance. White denied that request Tuesday afternoon, but issued a temporary restraining order until Oct. 20. That was meant to give the two sides more time to reach a new collective bargaining contract.

The city wants concessions from the union to help it balance its 2012 budget that is in a vise because of state limits on how much the city can raise property taxes and a loss of state aid.

Because the city is up against a deadline to finish its budget, if negotiations don't yield the needed savings and if the restraining order is extended Neitzke said he will submit an alternative budget that cuts expenses.

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