City Manager's Messages

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Apr 12

City Manager's Message April 12: FY24 recommended budget

Posted on April 12, 2023 at 4:47 PM by Don Mann

Earlier today, I delivered the City Manager’s Budget Message at the afternoon Council work session. The full budget will be available on April 15, as is our tradition. While there are many initiatives in the budget (such as increased staffing for several departments that lost positions during the recession and new capital projects), I want to share the details of our proposed employee investments with you now.


The FY 24 Manager’s Recommended Budget includes a 5% wage increase for all eligible employees, effective July 1. The City will also cover 80% of a health insurance premium increase. We have continued the funding of the very popular personal days program we started during the recession, the City’s 100% coverage of the employee life insurance premium and the various bonus programs. The budget also includes funding to increase the City’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, effective July 1. If these recommendations are approved, employees will have received a minimum of a total increase of 25% since FY 2017.


Last year, I noted that we would undertake a compensation study to comprehensively review our market competitiveness with an external consultant. That work needed to be done in phases, and the sworn public safety plan was the first to be reviewed. This budget fully funds the implementation of a new step plan for our sworn public safety employees and provides for tenured-based placement of employees with 2.5% steps for each year of service. The step plan will help us unravel compression, a long complaint of our sworn workforce. The conversion to the step plan is a major investment, consuming much of the new revenue available to us this year. However, it is an appropriate step to ensure that we retain and attract sworn officers, firefighters, medics annd deputies to our community. Over the next few weeks, the Assistant City Managers, the Human Resources Director and I will be meeting with the sworn workforce to explain the step plan in further detail. The review of our civilian workforce will begin soon, and those pay recommendations will be our top priority next year.


Together, the proposed investments in employee compensation total over $12.6 million, by far the largest single initiative in the new operating budget. I am pleased that we are able to afford these significant salary and benefit increases, as I have long maintained that we have the absolute best city employee team anywhere in our region. You are indeed deserving of every dollar we can afford to invest, and I am appreciative that our economic and housing investments have paid off such that we can be positioned to make this large increase.


I would be remiss if I did not also mention the tax relief provided in the budget as well. We are proposing a 2-cent real estate tax rate reduction, which would bring our rate to $1.16. We were at $1.24 just two years ago. Further, the Council has already approved a personal property tax relief proposal. Minor increases in the stormwater and wastewater fee are more than offset with these other tax reductions.


Council will be considering the budget over the course of the next month, with its final votes on the budget scheduled for May 10. I look forward to discussing the budget more with you, the Council and the community over the coming weeks. We will offer sessions for our sworn public safety team to learn more about the step plan over the next couple of weeks. Details on those meetings will be sent out by the Chiefs. However, as a reminder, I am always willing to receive and answer questions from any employee via email. 


I hope you all have a great remainder of the week!





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