The Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association has reached a tentative labor agreement with the city of Santa Barbara for concessions equal to a 5.5 percent salary reduction and saving the city more than $725,000 for the current fiscal year.

The union, which includes 95 firefighters and fire inspectors, has been negotiating with the city for months, and there will be additional savings for the next two fiscal years. A 3 percent increase was delayed until 2012, and the firefighters will pay 5 percent into their PERS benefits for 2011, and 3 percent for 2012 and 2013. Firefighters will give up 24 hours of paid holiday time, while inspectors will take a 16-hour furlough, or unpaid leave.

In exchange, the city will increase its medical benefit contributions and provide 3 percent in salary increases in 2013.

The agreement, of which $635,000 is savings apply to the city’s General Fund, must be ratified by union members, with a vote planned for next week, and then the City Council.

Already, the managers, supervisors and SEIU general employees have voluntarily come to the negotiating table to consider labor concessions, which mostly consist of furloughs and postponed pay increases.

“We really appreciate the spirit in which the firefighters engaged with the city,” Kristy Schmidt, the city’s labor negotiator, said in a news release. “While it took us a while to finalize the details of the agreement, the discussions have been positive and solution-oriented from the beginning.”

The City Council banked on about $4 million in concessions to close its budget gap at the end of the 2010 fiscal year.

The Santa Barbara Police Officers Association, which is the only union with an expired contract, has not yet reached an agreement with the city.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Managing Editor

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at