SUMMARY MINUTES OF A BUDGET WORK SESSION
OF THE CHAPEL HILL TOWN COUNCIL
WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2001, AT 4:00 P.M.
Mayor Rosemary Waldorf called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.
Council members present were Joyce Brown, Pat Evans, Lee Pavăo, Bill Strom, and Edith Wiggins. Council Member Flicka Bateman arrived at 4:08 p.m., Council Member Jim Ward arrived at 4:12, and Council Member Kevin Foy arrived at 4:15 p.m.
Staff members present were Town Manager Cal Horton, Assistant Town Managers Sonna Loewenthal and Florentine Miller, Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos, Assistant to the Manager Bill Stockard, Director of Public Works Bruce Heflin, Internal Services Superintendent Bill Terry, Sanitation Superintendent Harv Howard, Administrative Analyst Randy Ballard, Police Chief Gregg Jarvies, Director of Parks and Recreation Kathryn Spatz, Recreation Planner and Program Administrator Bill Webster, Finance Director Jim Baker, Senior Long Range Planning Coordinator Chris Berndt, Planner Phil Hervey, Transportation Director Mary Lou Kuschatka, Superintendent Brenda Jones, Human Resources Director Pat Thomas, Town Clerk Joyce Smith, and Acting Town Clerk Sandy Cook.
a. Summary Information on Major Changes in Recommended Budget for 2001-2002.
Mr. Horton noted that this was a summary of changes.
b. Additions, Reductions, and Changes in the Recommended Budget for 2001-2002.
Finance Director Jim Baker said that the changes did not include what might happen in the State budget and what impact that might have on local government. He pointed out a correction on the list referring to additional net revenue from commercial garbage collection fees, which was listed as $293,000, and should read $236,000. Mr. Baker reviewed the table showing potential items for consideration in the State budget and the tax rate equivalent for each item:
· Estimated increases in Sales Tax and Powell Bill Revenues—$285,000. The population changes indicated by the 2000 Census, 44,429 to 48,715, affects the distribution of sales tax revenue to an increase of $180,000 next year, and an increase of $105,000 in the Powell Bill.
· Reduction in Vehicle Replacement Costs—$90,000. Based on recommendations from the consultant to consider financing all vehicles and equipment (other than Police patrol vehicles) for seven years instead of five years would result in this savings.
· Additional Net Revenue from Commercial Garbage Collection Fees—$236,000.
· Estimated Increase in Cable Franchise Fees—$35,000.
· Fund Public Works Lube Pit and Vehicle Washing Facility from Bond Funds—$85,000.
· Lease Purchase Town Hall Generator—$100,000. Consider financing this equipment over a 7-year period, which would result in this reduction in the current year’s Capital Improvement Fund budget (CIP).
· Fund Library Capital Maintenance Project from a Capital Contribution from Accumulated Library Gift Funds—$58,000, taken from the Gift Funds.
· Reduction in Proposed CIP Allocations for Carpet Replacement and Space Needs Study—$85,000.
· Increased Costs for Grants to Others—$72,000.
· Increased Funding for Sidewalk Construction—$50,000.
Mr. Baker pointed out that there could be a potential for increased revenues when the State budget was finished.
c. Follow-Up Report on Fleet Replacement Issues.
Director of Public Works Bruce Heflin said that the “Fleet Replacement Program Post-Implementation Review” was completed by DMG MAXIMUS and that consultant Paul Lauria would be presenting this review.
Mr. Lauria made his presentation of the Fleet Replacement Program:
· DMG engaged by the Department of Public Works (DPW) in 1998 to help design fleet replacement program
· Key goals of the new program were to:
· Eliminate backlog of replacement needs
· Replace vehicles in timely manner
· Minimize year-to-year volatility of replacement funding requirements
· Improve overall fleet performance and costs
Overview of the Town’s Fleet
· 265 vehicles and pieces of equipment
· $11 million replacement cost in 2001 dollars
· Distribution of assets by quantity and value
· Public works 58% $6.1 million dollars
· Police and Fire 34% $4.7 million dollars
· Other 8% $0.4 million dollars
· Original Baseline Fleet Replacement Plan (graph)
· Original “Smoothed” Replacement Plan (graph)
· Recommended Financing Approach (graph) spread over several years
Accomplishments to Date
· 161 vehicles and pieces of equipment replaced
· Average vehicle age reduced from 6.6 years to 4.8 years
· Average Life-to-Date (LTD) usage reduced from 34,000 to 25,000 miles
· Fleet reliability and safety increased; employee morale improved
· $84,000 in replacement reserves accumulated
· Updated Replacement Plan (graph)
· Principal and Interest Payments FY 1999-2011 (graph)
· Fund Contributions and P & I Payments FY 1999-2011 (graph)
· Replacement Plan Updates, annually
· Debt Financing Term
· Multi-Year Lease-Purchase Agreements
· Determination of Contribution Amounts
· Distribution of Replacement Costs to Using Departments
Mr. Horton said that a key finding, if the review allowed the staff to make a reduction of the amount of funding thought to be necessary for the next year, was changing the replacement schedule to more nearly reflect the life of the equipment.
Council Member Evans asked if there would be fewer vehicles being replaced in the future than what had been replaced in the first three years of replacement. Mr. Lauria said there would be fewer, and that in the three years of replacement there had been many vehicles well beyond the reasonable replacement points of age and mileage. He said the average replacement being looked at was 7.7 years, but there were different ages for different departments.
Council Member Evans asked if the vehicles would be sold for a better price, because they were in better conditions. Mr. Lauria said that would be true, from leasing costs, as well as lower maintenance and repair costs. He said the guidelines were in keeping with industry practice.
Council Member Bateman asked for an explanation of the average age replacement reduction. Mr. Lauria said it was an indication of the improvement in the average age and accumulated age of the vehicles in the fleet. Council Member Bateman said she thought this was a very overcautious goal.
Council Member Strom asked about the 7 percent salvage value. Mr. Lauria said that 7 percent was the expected salvage value as a percentage of the original purchase price, which was a conservative number, and was an estimate.
Council Member Strom asked if there was a policy in place for entering into the leases. Mr. Lauria said that was an entirely different situation, and was just installment financing, not like leasing a car, and the money for salvage would go into the fleet replacement fund to reduce future funding payments.
Council Member Strom asked if there were municipalities using the classic lease arrangement rather than the lease-purchase arrangement. Mr. Lauria said only on a limited basis for executive cars, because it was not cost effective due to the terms offered by commercial loaning institutions, and governmental agencies could borrow with tax-exempt rates.
Council Member Strom asked if the salvage values being received by the Town were reasonable. Mr. Lauria said he had not looked into that, but in a study to analyze the appropriate cycles that issue could be a component.
Council Member Strom asked if the replacement reserve in place at the present time was adequate. Mr. Lauria said it was adequate for the near term, but over the next few years the Town needed to look at contribution amounts, which needed to be increased somewhat in the future.
Council Member Ward said he agreed with Council Member Bateman about the average replacement goal. He said the way the graph on page 11 of the materials looked was that each year, over a 10-year spread, the cost would go up 50% a year, which he said seemed a steep amount to call just the cost of doing business. Mr. Lauria said this was in debt-service costs and pointed out the graph on page 9 which indicated the dollar-valued vehicles that the Town was projected to acquire over that period of time. He pointed out that the graph on page 8 showed no significant increase in fleet replacement costs projected in 2001 dollars.
Council Member Ward asked if the graphs were indicative of future years. Mr. Lauria said it was indicative of some large equipment replacement, but with the terms that the Town was using for financing, there would be some peaks and valleys and many vehicles would come due for replacement at the same time.
Council Member Ward asked what the value of the information requested by Council Member Strom would be for the Council regarding salvage. Mr. Lauria said he had done such analyses for some clients, but he would let the current replacement program run for another few years, and that the Town monitor maintenance repair costs and track vehicle availability or down-time associated with maintenance and repair. He said sensitivity analyses could be done of the plan, to determine how certain types of vehicles should be replaced, and guidelines for certain types of assets to see how sensitive the long-term replacement costs for replacing the Town’s fleet were with respect to the changes of the replacement parameters.
Council Member Ward said he was bothered by the use of averages of the life cycle of various pieces of equipment. Mr. Lauria said the date and cost of replacement had been projected for each individual piece of equipment in the Town’s fleet, so the bars on the graph did not represent an average purchase price and an average replacement cycle. He said what was represented in the graph was summary information using averages of different types of vehicles.
Item #2 – Public Works Issues
Options for Commercial Garbage Collection.
Public Works Director Bruce Heflin updated the options for commercial refuse collection. He said the staff had been looking at the original cost analysis for fiscal 1999-2000, and then had attempted to figure costs for the current year and extrapolating figures for next year for potential revenue. Mr. Heflin said that the rules were that there was a maximum amount of revenue the Town could realize from a fee, and it could not accumulate more revenue than the ceiling would allow. He reported that the staff had then looked at costs based on the same updating principles and pointed out that the worksheet addressed these issues.
Mr. Heflin said the staff also addressed the various exemptions that the Council had requested, and as a result had been able to project an increase in revenues, keeping in mind that the administrative costs still needed to be netted out. Mr. Heflin said that the total revenue from commercial service, based on the changes, could be as high as $293,000 for 9 months, but these were estimates. He added that the staff had talked with the Orange County Solid Waste Department staff about ways to encourage commercial waste recycling. He said the Waste Department had reminded the Town that the Solid Waste Management Plan adopted by the Town Council included expanded commercial recycling. Mr. Heflin said these included expanded commercial programs publicly funded; after creation of a materials recovery facility (MRF); and that the Town should consider other options such as mandatory recycling or pay-as-you-throw (PAYT).
Council Member Evans asked if the 20 dumpsters located for Town facilities included the dumpsters from public housing, and how many collections were presently scheduled. Mr. Heflin said they were included and they would be collected twice per week, as would all the dumpsters at Town facilities.
Council Member Evans asked if the staff had included the costs of cleaning up the extras which would overflow in the dumpsters where owners did not pay for added collection. Mr. Heflin said if the Council decided to require fee-for-service, the staff would have to complete a waste audit and then do some analysis of what the current and projected needs would be. He said they then would bring a series of recommendations to the Council to give the Public Works Department the authority to work with the individual entities who created hygiene problems in order not to pay for an extra collection. Mr. Heflin said he believed this could be accomplished with existing staff.
Council Member Evans stated that she was opposed to this extra charge for collection, and that it was the wrong way to go and the wrong time to do it, and that this service should be provided through the payment of taxes. She said she would not vote for this change.
Council Member Brown proposed taking a certain segment of the commercial, as well as a segment of the apartment/residential sector and have a waste reduction pilot project, apart from the County. She cited food waste as one of the problems that could be looked at. Council Member Brown asked if there were members of the Council who would be willing to work on a pilot program.
Mayor Waldorf asked if this proposal would be a separate action from the proposed new fees. Council Member Brown said it could go either way, with or without modification of fees.
Mayor pro tem Pavăo said he thought the proposal was an interesting one and volunteered to work on the pilot program. He added that he agreed with Council Member Evans and did not want to see the Town change the commercial garbage collection until it had something better to offer. He said that the residential citizen paid taxes to the Town, and the commercial owner paid property taxes on both a home, if in Chapel Hill, and on his commercial property. Mayor pro tem Pavăo said the businesses provided sales tax revenues for the Town and employment to citizens of the Town, and provided services needed by everyone. He said there could be many ways to help reduce waste and to recycle.
Council Member Wiggins said she felt that the commercial owners should be very involved in the pilot program or a waste audit/marketing study, so that whatever recommendation came back to the Council, there would be some understanding on both sides for support of the change. She said she believed that was what Council Member Brown was proposing.
Council Member Brown said she was, but she felt the program should go forward, even if there was not support for the fee proposal.
Council Member Strom said this was not a new proposal, and had started in the previous year’s budget discussion. He said he felt that the Council was making a considerable compromise by having the Town provide a base service in the community. He cited several cities which had discontinued commercial trash pick-up altogether. Council Member Strom said he did not think it was fair to property owners to add to their taxes for the commercial trash collection, which should be a fee-for-service. He said it was a fair and timely reform.
Council Member Wiggins said she was suggesting that there should be a way for the businesses to be involved in the decisions so that they would understand it. She said that waiting for a few months, in order to involve these businesses, would be worthwhile.
Council Member Foy said it was a mistake to lump all businesses together, that certain businesses generated more volume. He said he felt it was a fair compromise, since the Town would still provide once-a-week pick-up. Council Member Foy stated he would like to see a decision made for additional fees for more than once-a-week pick-up made at today’s meeting.
Council Member Wiggins said she would support the fee proposal so long as the pilot proposal included the producers of the waste and the means to help them develop ways to reduce it.
Council Member Strom said he supported Council Member Wiggins idea and asked Mr. Heflin to explain how a waste audit/marketing study would be implemented with the users involved. Mr. Heflin said the staff would visit every business or entity from which the Department of Public Works would be collecting. He said the staff would try to determine how much waste they generate presently, how much service they need, how much they would be willing to pay for additional service, and identify real numbers rather than best estimates.
Council Member Ward said that he would support the fee proposal, and also the pilot program suggested by Council Member Brown. He said he believed that in this way the impact on the business community could be reduced.
Council Member Brown said that she wanted her proposal for the pilot program to go forward with any other kind of change. She said it was more a waste reduction program than just recycling. Council Member Brown said it would be a way of getting at the problems in certain segments of the commercial sector, where the differences were more pronounced and greater.
COUNCIL MEMBER FOY MOVED, SECONDED BY COUNCIL MEMBER STROM, THAT THE COUNCIL ESTABLISH A BASIC SERVICE AT NO CHARGE, WITH FEES ESTABLISHED FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES, INCLUDING WHAT THE STAFF HAS RECOMMENDED AS A WASTE AUDIT/MARKETING STUDY, AND ALSO INCLUDING A WASTE REDUCTION PILOT PROGRAM ALONG THE LINES OF COUNCIL MEMBER BROWN’S SUGGESTION, AND THAT IT BE INCLUDED IN THIS YEAR’S BUDGET.
Council Member Bateman said she would support the motion, after reading in the chart provided by Mr. Heflin that many cities were not involved in commercial trash pick-up. She said it was a good compromise, and that it was a cost passed on to the consumer, who was the generator of the garbage.
Council Member Wiggins asked for an explanation of what the specifics would be. Council Member Foy said his motion was based on the working paper. Mr. Horton said it would include the summary in Attachment I. He said the staff would need to seek advice from the County or to have some other resource not presently available if the work was extensive. Mr. Horton said if a modest amount of work were involved, the staff could probably get by with the assistance of an extra intern.
Council Member Brown said she wanted to have a more definite idea of the scope so that the staff could have something to work with along with the Council and other people with the pilot program. She added that she would also like to use the State, which did have people with expertise in various aspects of this issue. Council Member Brown stated she wanted the people involved in the project to set the parameters of the pilot project.
Council Member Ward volunteered to work on the pilot project.
Mayor Waldorf suggested that those working on the project would set the parameters and bring them back to the Council.
Council Member Evans said that she hoped that some people from the business community would be included, in order to gain their support. She asked that an analysis be made in a year for the next year’s budget for the additional demands on Public Works that had or had not been caused by the change. Mr. Horton said he would expect that a report would be brought to the Council similar to the report on the curbside collection program.
THE MOTION WAS ADOPTED BY A VOTE OF 8-1, WITH MAYOR WALDORF, COUNCIL MEMBERS BATEMAN, BROWN, EVANS, FOY, STROM, WARD, AND WIGGINS VOTING AYE, AND MAYOR PRO TEM PAVĂO VOTING NAY.
Item #3 – Capital Improvements Program Issues
a. Revisions to Managers Recommended Capital Improvement Program.
Assistant Town Manager Sonna Loewenthal reviewed the proposal for changes in the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) in order to cut costs:
· Propose to reduce the cost originally proposed for the municipal space needs study from $80,000 to $10,000, by using an intern and staff in-house, instead of a consultant.
· Propose to reduce the cost of carpeting the Town Hall from $85,000 to $25,000, by replacing the carpeting in the hallways, public areas and the lobby behind the meeting room, but not in the meeting room or offices.
· Propose to eliminate $8,500 from the CIP, but not cut what it was going to buy, using Public Works Bond Funds to replace the Lube Pit with hydraulic lifts and replace the Truck-Washing Facilities.
· Propose to debt finance the generator, saving $96,000 the first year, but spending a little more over the life of the project, for the next 7 years.
· Propose to add some of the freed-up money to add to the sidewalks and bikeways.
· Add another $30,000 to small park improvements.
Council Member Brown asked Ms. Loewenthal to go over the rug proposal again. Ms. Loewenthal repeated the areas to be replaced. Council Member Brown suggested that the staff look into a rug company that she knew of that produced no waste and utilized replacement areas. Ms. Loewenthal said that company had been used for carpeting tiles in the Library and the staff was very pleased with the results.
Council Member Foy asked what “Principal of Financed Projects” on Table 1 meant. Ms. Loewenthal said that was how much the project was really budgeted at and the difference in the two columns was the interest that was being paid.
Council Member Foy asked for clarification regarding the Post Office and the IFC on page 2 of the memorandum. Ms. Loewenthal said the bottom line of the projects was exactly the same, reallocating the money by taking from one fund and moving it to another.
Council Member Foy said he did not see a “Principal of Financed Projects “ for the generator. Ms. Loewenthal said it was inadvertently omitted.
Council Member Strom commented that he really appreciated how responsive the staff was to the concerns and issues raised by the Council at the last budget meeting. He asked about line 31—Drainage Assistance—and if there was a fund balance available. Ms. Loewenthal said that was for very small projects. She said some money could be taken from the street bonds, but there were not any small projects pending as some other needed important projects. Mr. Horton said, if needed, the funds could be found.
Council Member Foy asked what that included with regard to the Lube Pit. Ms. Loewenthal said those were paid for out of Public Works Bond Funds.
b. Report on Construction Management Position.
Ms. Loewenthal said the staff felt that having a licensed architect on the Town staff would enhance the capability to do some small renovation projects without the assistance of outside architectural and engineering firms. She added, however, that major renovations and new constructions would still require the Town to contract for these services.
Council Member Bateman asked if the staff had talked with architects who had never done business with the Town, in order to get an outside opinion other than those from local architects. Mr. Heflin said they had contacted architects in this State and in other states and the answer was much the same. Mr. Horton said one local architect who did not routinely do business with the Town had also been consulted.
Council Member Strom said he thought hiring a construction manager would be an essential ingredient to carrying out the plans. He asked if there was a way of restructuring the Manager’s office in order to have a person on-staff to fill the position, rather than spending a lot of money to create a new position. Mr. Horton said the staff had tried to identify other funding and he did not believe there was a position to eliminate, in order to put in this other position.
Council Member Brown asked what the difference was in the staff at the present time and what it was 10 years ago. Mr. Horton said he would be able to get the report to the Council, which would include changes in the population growth, service, and annexation areas. He said the changes would probably be in the service areas, and not much in the administrative areas. Mr. Horton added that some of the changes were in service changes, such as adding hours in the transit services.
Council Member Bateman asked if the position would save the Town money. Mr. Horton said it would save money in the quality of construction, in the long-run management of projects where no architect will have to be hired.
Council Member Bateman asked if it would save money to balance out the cost of hiring the position. Mr. Horton said in the long run it would, but in the beginning it would not because there was a backlog of deferred maintenance projects.
Council Member Ward said, although he could see the value of the position, he could not see adding the position at the present time, but would like to see the position created from restructuring the staff to free up a position when needed.
Council Member Wiggins asked Mr. Horton if he had to choose between the Zoning Enforcement Officer and this position, which position was more important to the operations of the Town. Mr. Horton said the Zoning Enforcement Officer would be, because that position dealt with current complaints by citizens. He said the one that would have the greatest cost effect for the Town would be the Construction Management position, because it would effect the Town’s ability to maintain its public facilities and keep them in good shape over a long period of time.
Mayor Waldorf asked if the staff envisioned the position as a permanent one, or just to fill the necessary and immediate needs for the next few years. Mr. Horton said it would be a permanent position, to maintain current and future needs as they arise.
Council Member Brown asked if the Zoning Enforcement Officer had been hired. Mr. Horton said the position had been filled.
Council Member Foy suggested that it was time for the Council to look at deploying the resources that the Town already had into new areas, rather than adding on a new position. He said he did not support the hiring of the new position, but he supported the concept that Mr. Horton was putting forward. Council Member Foy asked if there was some way to restructure in order to grow differently.
Council Member Brown said there was also the need to look at growth and whether the Town was going in the right direction in its growth.
Mayor Waldorf said she did support the new position because there was a question of whether the Town already had all the skills and capabilities required of this position presently on the staff. She said what was proposed was a way to get the best job done on the capital programs.
Mayor pro tem Pavăo said he supported the proposal.
Mayor Waldorf said that the Council needed to know from several years back with the addition of staff, what the service changes have been, what the population growth had been, what the annexations have been, and the like. She said these areas had been added for several years without the addition of personnel, and the Town had come to a point where additions would be needed. Mayor Waldorf noted the annexation of Southern Village as an example of the need for additional personnel.
Council Member Wiggins asked if the Town had vacant positions that could be shelved in order to free up some dollars for the position, noting that the position was very important. Mr. Horton said the staff could look at the list. He said one way the staff could fund this position would be for the Council to say hold off on filling these vacant positions until enough money was accumulated to offset the additional cost for this year, after which it could be evaluated to see how it went. Mr. Horton said the staff did look at positions to try to find some that could be eliminated, but did not find any.
Mayor Waldorf pointed out a chart in Item 4c, which listed the current vacant positions, and noted that most were not fluff. Mr. Horton said the period of time the positions remained vacant was much less now because of the changes in the pay plan and the employees were better satisfied and even assisted with recruitment. He said some positions were vacant because of the difficulties of finding the person with the expertise to fill them.
Council Member Bateman suggested that the Council authorize the Manager to fill, with a specific amount of dollars, the positions he felt were most crucial.
Council Member Wiggins asked if some future funding for the position could be allotted to the specific construction project being worked on. Ms. Loewenthal said the staff would, for the first year, try to keep track of every hour spent by the person in the position. She said the staff would then estimate the time the person in this position spent on each of the following year’s projects, and try to budget that time into the project budget.
Council Member Strom asked if the staff envisioned negotiating in the contract to reduce supervision in the oversight fees because of the person being in place in this position. Ms. Loewenthal said in some cases they would, and in other cases, would not.
Council Member Strom said he would not want to fund the position out of the CIP, but from open position revenues for the first year and keeping careful records in the time period. He said he felt the Council would find that it would be happy and satisfied that it was running a very efficient position. Council Member Strom stated he would support the position in that way.
Council Member Ward said he could support the position if that was the way it would be supported in the first year, and then to look at it again after that year. Mr. Horton said he thought this could be made to work and would be a good challenge for the person in the position. Mr. Heflin said, with the current labor market, it might be difficult to recruit a person under these conditions, but he would be willing to try.
Mayor Waldorf summed the conditions—that the Town would create this position, not with money out of the CIP, but with money taken out of the funds from vacant positions, and that there would be an expectation after the first and second year’s work that there should be some documentation of some savings to the Town due to the person’s work.
Council Member Ward said it was an important position for the Town to have, and would save money in the long run, but he did not want to add it to the employment base, but rather for the staff to find the money within the existing resources. Mr. Horton said he would like to take this on as a challenge for the staff to find a way to make the position possible.
The Council agreed that this would be acceptable to them.
Item #4 – Human Resources Issues
a. Recommended Salary Increases of Other Area Employers.
Human Resources Director Pat Thomas reviewed answers to Council questions from the last budget meeting. She indicated the chart on page 2 of Item 4, and said that what the Town was recommending was in the middle range of other employers’ recommendations.
b. Cost Calculations on Pay System Alternatives.
Ms. Thomas indicated that the first page of Item 4b showed the current proposals of the Manager’s recommended budget; and the following pages provided options:
· Option 1: 3.78% merit and 2% market.
· Option 2: Compete at the Middle of the Market?
· Option 3: Balancing cuts among the 3 areas—step increases, range adjustments and merit increases.
· Option 4. Cut more costs from salary recommendations by providing a less competitive amount of salary increase and range adjustment.
Ms. Thomas said that the staff continued to believe that the Manager’s recommended budget was justified within the market. She said the summary of priorities on page 7 was what the staff was recommending. Mr. Horton said the staff, in putting together the priorities, was trying to keep intact the general ideas that the Council put together in the new pay system, which had worked well and was appreciated by the employees.
Council Member Foy asked why, on the Summary page, Option 4 was preferable to Option 1, from the Manager’s point of view, since Option 1 seemed more in keeping with the Manager’s recommendation. Ms. Thomas said that, if the Council felt it necessary to cut the Manager’s recommended budget, it was to balance the increases by first keeping the steps in place and providing an average merit increase for the longer-term staff over the job rate that provided competitive pay increases. She said the third priority was the salary schedule to help keep up with the labor market, and Option 4 helped keep those goals balanced than did the other options. Mr. Horton said that a primary consideration was to keep a 4.5% average salary increase.
Council Member Strom asked for an explanation of how the $221,400 from Option 4 carried over to the box on page 5. Mr. Horton said the General Fund and the Transportation Fund was where the tax rate was, and the other funds did not have any tax rate involved. He said what was emphasized in the Summary was just the tax implications.
Council Member Ward requested an explanation of how this would look to an entry level person, and other positions, so he could get a handle on what would be the high, medium, and low, rather than averages. Ms. Thomas said the staff could produce some samples for him. Council Member Ward asked for a report on what other Town residents were expecting in increases this year.
Council Member Bateman said she was interested in what the General Assembly would be doing for State employees. Mr. Horton said the Town had to compete in the labor market for employees on a much broader level than just the State. He said he hoped the Council would not adopt the kind of miserly standards that the State was applying to its employees, and felt that the State would lose good employees because its pay standards.
Council Member Foy said he would like to see Option 2 with a .72% pay range adjustment and how it would affect everything including the staff’s rationale. Ms. Thomas said the staff could calculate the cost, but she believed from the priority standpoint that would still be low and would not be competitive.
Council Member Foy asked if this would be cause further compression. Ms. Thomas said, for the longer-term employees, it would barely provide the cost-of-living increase. She said it would not be competitive in the job market.
Mayor Waldorf said she would also like to wait until more information came from the State, before making a final decision.
c. Employment and Volunteer Opportunities for High School Students.
Ms. Thomas said that several departments had said they would be able to use high school students if the funding was there. She said there were some candidates identified for the Inspections Department, and they were currently being interviewed, but would not be chosen until it was known whether there would be funding. She said apprentices cost between $10,000-$12,000 per year.
Council Member Bateman said she appreciated this information.
Mr. Horton said one of the possibilities would be that the Council could authorize the use of its contingency allocation so the staff could make a hiring decision for the apprentice in the Inspections Department. He said there was another program coming to the Council’s June 11th meeting that would use a portion of the money, but some of these dollars would help the staff get started.
By consensus of the Council, the remaining Agenda Items were deferred for consideration at a Budget Work Session on June 13th at 4:30 p.m.
Council Member Evans left the meeting at 5:35 p.m. Council Member Strom left the meeting at 6:20 p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 6:23 p.m.