HAYWARD -- City Council members will pay a larger share of the cost of their health benefits starting next year -- 30 percent, up from the current 20 percent.

The council also will forgo a cost of living increase next year, as it has done for the past decade. It was eligible for a 2.6 percent pay raise, or $700 for council members and $1,100 for the mayor. Council members will continue to pay 50 percent of their dental benefit cost.

Hayward faces a $5 million operating structural deficit in 2015, a staff report said.

"The council continues to try to take a leadership role in doing what needs to be done to balance the budget," Councilman Al Mendall said before Tuesday's unanimous vote.

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"Contrary to what you may have seen on billboards around town, the City Council has not received a raise since 2004," he said.

An employee union, SEIU Local 1021, put up billboards in April that accused the council members of giving themselves a raise while cutting employees' wages. What the union called a raise for council members is, the city said, actually an increase in what Hayward must pay for benefits for all its employees, including union members.

The union and city have been in a contract dispute since last year. Citing escalating health and pension benefit costs, the council sought 17 percent cuts in total compensation for all its workers.


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After lengthy contract talks came to an impasse, the City Council in February cut city clerical workers' pay by almost $400 a month and maintenance workers' wages by about $325 a month.

The two sides are again negotiating, with a bargaining session scheduled for July 10.

City workers also are paying more of their pension and benefit costs, the report said. They have waived their cost of living increase, a Hayward spokesman said Thursday.

The council's action on its pay will save the city $11,000 next year, the report said.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr.