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City: Time for a staff raise, says administrator
Jun 17, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
Riverton city administrator Steven Weaver proposed giving city staff a raise in the initial budget for the 2014 fiscal year.
During a budget work session, Weaver said personnel is the largest single expense category for the city, but he urged city council members to consider giving city staff raises as a cost of living adjustment to keep Riverton competitive with other municipalities and organizations.
"Our employees are very important and what makes this organization work," Weaver said.
"The reason we need to stay competitive is we end up losing people to other cities, which is very costly to the organization, particularly with positions that require certain education requirements or certifications."
Weaver said staff is proposing a 2 percent increase in the cost of living adjustment, or COLA, for all of its employees in order to keep up with other cities. The COLA is an adjustment in wages that matches a change in the cost of living index. The COLA increase would cost about $100,000 in the general fund and $42,000 in the enterprise fund.
He also told the council that the health insurance provider notified them city of a 6 percent premium increase to both the city and the employee. Numbers presented by Weaver show that 98 percent of city employees are under a single-person-coverage plan, which is the less costly option, followed by employees with dependent coverage, then employee and spouse and finally a family. Weaver said family coverage, which comes with a $1,500 deductible per person, would see an increase of $26.34 per month.
Weaver also reported that the snow removal budget increased from $30,000 to $50,000, and the budget for road materials doubled to $100,000. He confirmed that it's still the city's responsibility to fix potholes and that revenue from the gasoline tax helps in that, not the 1 percent sales tax.
"Some of the concerns I've heard out in the community were that we were taking out all those monies out of there and were supplementing that with the 1 percent funds, and that's not the case," Weaver said.
Weaver commended the staff who put the budget together and worked over the years to practice the cost containment measures that resulted in the balanced budget.
In the enterprise funds, with the exception of the airport board, Weaver said the revenues in all funds exceeded expenses and an operating budget was estimated at $6,500,421.
For the general fund, the draft showed that the sales and use tax are the largest source of revenue, while the 34 grants the city has accounts for 27.7 percent of the budget.
In fiscal year 2013 city staff obtained more than $7 million in grant funds for municipal projects. It is projected that more than $11 million will be spent on capital projects next year, with 64.2 percent of that amount funded through grants.