The Manawa City Council passed a proposed 3.16 percent wage increase for city employees at a budget meeting on Monday, Nov. 5.
At the meeting there was a lengthy discussion regarding raises for city employees. Cheryl Hass, city clerk/treasurer informed the council that the health insurance premiums will be going up for city employees in 2013. She also informed the council that the employee portion of the contribution made to retirement will be increasing from 5.9 percent to 6.65 percent.
Hass also told the council that based on calculations from the state, the maximum amount the city can increase its budget for 2013 is $11,553.
The council was presented with wage increase percentages from surrounding communities. These ranged from two percent to four percent.
The council was also presented with figures as to how much the budget would increase if a one percent, two percent or 3.16 percent pay increase was given to city employees. A one percent increase would add $2,946 to the budget. A two percent increase would add $5,899 to the budget. A 3.16 percent increase would add $9,179 to the budget. A 3.16 percent wage increase is the most it can be for the city employees.
City employees received a two percent wage increase in 2012.
One option discussed was giving the department heads a larger increase than the other employees. Council member Mary Eck said the board should “act in good faith” and give across the board increases of the same percentage.
Mayor Debby Nolan suggested a two percent wage increase for city employees, with the remaining dollar amount the budget can be increased being placed into a miscellaneous fund for future expenditures.
The discussion turned to what the cost of living increase figure is, and the council was told it is 3.16 percent.
Council member Anne Bonikowske said she thought the council should approve a larger wage increase this year.
“We can do it this year,” Bonikowske said. “We don’t know what next year will be like.”
Eck made the motion to give city employees a 3.16 percent wage increase in 2013. Mike Frazier seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.
The council also approved a proposed increased of pay for the chief inspector at elections from $8 per hour to $10. The pay for poll workers was increased from $7.25 per hour to $9.
In other budget news, repayment on the loan for the Manawa Dam repairs won’t begin until 2014, so the dam repair costs are not in the 2013 budget.
There is a budget hearing scheduled for Monday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. to approve the final 2013 budget. The hearing will be held at Manawa City Hall.