AUGUSTA — Kennebec County commissioners signed a three-year contract Tuesday with Local 327 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America that will give covered county employees raises each of the next three years.

Officials with the county and Local 327, which represents about a dozen employees in the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office and the Registry of Deeds, agreed to a deal that gives those employees a 3.5% raise this year, retroactive to April 15. Under the contract, employees will also receive a 2.5% raise in the next fiscal year and 2% in the 2024 fiscal year.

The contract reflects some changes to pay steps, addressing some disparities with some individuals. These are one-time adjustments and a trade-off  for the lower rate of increase in the third year of the contract, said Kennebec County Administrator Scott Ferguson.

The previous contract expired June 30, 2021.

Ferguson said officials plan to remove benefits and health insurance from this and other contracts, and instead that information will be detailed in the Kennebec County Handbook.

Ferguson said the contract has a provision to revisit these sections if any issues arise in the future.

Union negotiations were part of recent discussions of the $17.4 million Kennebec County budget by the county’s budget committee. All told, the county has about 170 employees.

Budget committee members had considered whether to use undesignated fund balance — surplus funds that are not obligated for a specific purpose — to lessen the amount to be raised through property tax.

However, Ferguson said with contract negotiations now underway with the Fraternal Order of Police, he’d rather be able to keep those funds if needed.

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