City budget proposal addresses city worker pay

City budget proposal addresses city worker pay
April 13
09:00 2017



About half of city employees could see a salary increase, and there may be a 3-cent tax increase in next fiscal year’s budget.

City Council received a budget preview during a special meeting held last week that addressed the city’s longtime issues with its employee pay lagging behind market value. The city hired consulting firm Springsted to study the salaries of its employees, doing one-third of positions at a time, comparing the positions to each other and to what other larger cities in the state pay. About half of the city’s more than 2,400 employees had positions included in the study.

The study focused on labor, trades and craft positions because that’s were many of the severally under market positions are. Police officers, up to the rank of sergeant, were also included.

The study found non-police positions were below other cities by an average of about 8 percent.  It proposes establishing new minimum salaries for positions more in line with the labor market.  For instance, Equipment Operator Light, a position with high turnover because of its low pay, would have a salary of $28,666, which is 17 per-cent above where it is now.

“It will make us competitive,” said Human Resources Director Carmen Caruth.

If the changes are adopted, there are 442 non-police employees who would see raises because they’re currently below the new minimum, and 287 employees who are within the new salary range would see a 2 percent increase to avoid compression. Only two non-police employees with positions that were studied won’t receive an adjustment.

The city has been working in recent years to address police pay disparities with other cities. The study found only 26 employees below its proposed minimum levels, 459 within the new salary range getting the 2 percent raise and 17 that wouldn’t see a salary increase. There will also be a  2 percent retention pay adjustment for higher ranked officers. This is in addition to the annual 2 percent public safety supplemental pay adjustments that’ll take place in January 2018.

With a drastic drop in those looking to go into law enforcement, City Manager Lee Garrity said that competitive pay for a dwindling number of recruits is ”an arms race in law enforcement.”

Though the city has higher revenues from property taxes and sales tax receipts, it’ll still probably need to raise taxes to pay for the raises, along with other new expenditures.

“In order to retain our great employees, this is a move we have to make,” said City Council Member Denise “D.D.” Adams.

Other major expenditure drivers include the new 401(a) Plan for city employees, the operating costs for bond projects that’ll be completed and the 2 percent public safety pay supplemental. The budget preview said a 3-cent tax increase per $100 of property will cover all that, along with the Winston-Salem Transit Authority’s projected budget shortfall.

The proposed city budget will be distributed to the mayor and City Council on May 25. Workshops on it will be held starting on June 1. The City Council is scheduled to adopt the budget during its June 19 meeting and it’ll go into effect on July 1.

About Author

Todd Luck

Todd Luck

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors