That promise was to bring the city employee pay schedule in line with current pay rates. A company was hired to conduct a pay analysis of the region. That study was completed, but not in time to get it incorporated into the current budget.
Instead, the council voted in a 3 percent pay increase for all employees. For a lot of employees, that was sufficient to bring their pay up to current market amounts. There were some employees, many of them newer and underpaid employees, who were still below the market trend. It was to these employees that the council plans to keep its promise in the next fiscal year.
Meeting for the first time to discuss the new budget, council members held informal talks in a workshop session. No official actions could be taken in the relaxed setting, but the council members made clear their intent to pass the salary recommendation for those who are still earning less than the market says they should, even with the recent 3 percent raise.
The council may provide a small raise for employees who are being paid at what the market said was a fair rate. With the study new a year out of date, some of the Council felt the 1 percent was justified.
Employee health insurance is also fairly straightforward this year. The insurance premiums are rising by less than 5 percent. Council members did express concern, because the cost of family coverage remains high and suggested that solutions be explored, including possibly joining with Carter County’s insurer to see if it might have an impact.
On the first day of discussions, council members covered personnel, purchasing and library budgets.