Council reviews police contract
Jr., representing the municipality, Jones, Norristown police Chief Mark Talbot Sr. and DeOrzio met several times this past fall and this winter to negotiate the new, four-year contract, Talbot said.
“This contract negotiation is like every other contract. It involves the cost of living issues of pay raises and health care,” DeOrzio said during the contract negotiations. “The municipality is always looking to increase the members’ contributions for pensions and health care. The [union] members are looking for pay raises. We will be sitting down again soon to negotiate.”
The last two police contracts between the union local and the municipality have been decided by arbitration panels.
Members of Norristown FOP Lodge 31 have been working under the terms of an expired three-year contract since Jan. 1. A three-member arbitration panel approved that police contract on June 28, 2011, for the contract years 2011, 2012 and 2013, Talbot said.
The arbitration panel was appointed after the two sides could not come to an agreement in 2011. The agreement included a 2 percent wage hike on July 1, 2011; a 1 percent wage hike on Jan. 1, 2012; a 1 percent wage hike on July 1, 2012; a 1.5 percent wage hike on Jan. 1, 2013; and a 1 percent wage hike on July 1, 2013.
The health care co-pays of the police officers were increased during the threeyear contract by the arbitration award,
“Some pension restrictions that were guided by state law were included in the 2011-to-2013 contract,” DeOrzio said. “In each year of the contract there was a pension contribution increase.”
In other business, council scheduled a public review of the new zoning ordinance by the Norristown Planning Commission on May 13. Council will get to vote on the new zoning rules on June 14.
John Cover, the Montgomery County Planning Commission community planning chief, described the three-year development of the zoning changes with the community.
Cover said Norristown is very dense, with 9,800 residents per square mile, compared to Montgomery County, where there are 1,600 residents in each square mile. Lot sizes vary from block to block, and the housing types are intermixed on many blocks.
The new zoning rules will allow new construction to follow what already exists on each individual block. A new housing type will not be allowed if it does not already exist on that block.
“It is a good document. I recognize that it is a living document,” Cover said. “It is a document that can be changed in the future.”
Cover said the HC zoning district around the former Montgomery Hospital will be split into two districts called “office residential” and “office commercial retail.”
“What can go onto DeKalb Street are more intense uses,” he said. “In the residential district there will be less intense uses.”
Cover said that the redevelopment of Lafayette Street will be boosted by the eventual connection to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.