The Ketchikan City Council Thursday voted unanimously and without discussion to approve a new three-year contract with the Ketchikan Professional Firefighters Association.

The agreement is retroactive to the start of this year. It includes a 1.6-percent pay raise the first year, and 2-percent raises each of the subsequent years; plus a reduction in the employee share of health insurance premium costs.

Also Thursday, the Council approved the hire of Mark Hilson as the new Public Works Director. Hilson currently works in Pennsylvania and is expected to start his new job by the end of December. His starting salary will be about $114,000 per year, plus benefits.

In other matters, City Manager Karl Amylon announced that the draft 2016 City and Ketchikan Public Utilities budgets will be delivered to Council members electronically on Friday.

“Hard copies will be available next week, and our first budget session is scheduled for 7 p.m. a week from tonight,” he said.

There will be numerous budget meetings over the next seven weeks, with two set for this month. The first is Thursday, Nov. 12, and the second is Monday, Nov. 30. All budget meetings start at 7 p.m., as do regular Council meetings.

But, during Council Member comments Thursday, newly elected member Julie Isom suggested that the Council consider changing the time that meetings begin, “and maybe consider an earlier time, like six o’clock?”

Mayor Lew Williams III said the topic will be on the next regular meeting agenda. That meeting has been changed from its usual day to Monday, Nov. 23, to allow Council members to attend the Alaska Municipal League fall meeting the week of Nov. 16 through 20.

The Council had numerous executive sessions Thursday, but took no action following any of them. They were to discuss contract negotiations with various union groups; litigation strategies related to demolition of the old Bawden Street building; legal and financial issues related to the effort to sell Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications Division; and annual evaluations for the City Clerk and City Manager.