After working without a contract since July, Annapolis firefighters have reached an agreement with the city.
However, the 3 percent raise firefighters will receive is not retroactive to July 1, when three other unions -- representing police officers and clerical and mechanical workers -- signed new contracts with the city.
Lt. Charles Dalton, president of International Association of Firefighters Local 1926, said firefighters were upset that the raises weren't retroactive.
"Our contention is if the city is in such financial straits, then department heads should bite the bullet too," he said.
City department heads get 5 percent raises every six months, in addition to annual cost of living increases, until they reach the top of their pay grade.
Dalton said firefighters last week voted unanimously to accept the city's offer, when they realized that no more money would be coming from the city. "We weren't pleased with it, but we understand the city's in financial straits," he said.
The City Council will vote on the contract tonight.
City Personnel Director Thomas Engelke said firefighters also approved the contract because they wanted to make sure they would be included in a a new retirement plan the city is developing.
All four unions received the same wage package. In addition to the 3 percent increase in July, city employees will get a 2 percent wage increase in January. The last two years of the contract contain no increases.
Engelke said those increases will be negotiated later, taking into account the city's financial health at the time.
"I think we're looking at a tough year next year," Engelke said. "I think we've seen the last of comparable pay raises in the city for a while."
In other expected action tonight, the City Council: * Will vote on a family leave bill that would allow city employees to take up to 12 weeks' unpaid leave to care for children or ill family members.
The bill, proposed by Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, D-Ward 8, would let employees take unpaid leave to care for newborn or newly adopted children, foster children or ill children, spouses, parents or other dependents.
The finance committee last week dropped a provision in the bill that would have let parents take time off during school vacations to care for children up to age 14, and added a requirement that employees take a minimum of three days off. Department heads had expressed concern that employees would use the bill to take single days off.
* Will vote on a bill to cap increases in homeowners' property tax assessments at 10 percent.
The state legislature adopted a bill this year that limits annual assessment increases to 10 percent. The previous limit had been 15 percent.
Local jurisdictions must adopt 10 percent or lower limits by Dec. 31.
Under the law, the city could have limited increases to less than 10 percent. Baltimore County, for example, has adopted a 4 percent cap.
Alderman John R. Hammond, R-Ward 1, chairman of the finance committee, said the committee recommended a 10 percent cap for maximum flexibility and to stay even with Anne Arundel County, which also is considering a 10 percent cap. City residents pay city property taxes and slightly reduced county property taxes, and both bills are based on the same assessment.
* Will hold a public hearing on changing the name of Spa Creek to "Carroll Creek," the original name of the creek. Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, lived along the creek. The council also will vote on making Brewer Hill Cemetery a historical landmark. The vote will allow a restoration effort for the cemetery to receive block grant money.
The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.